President Benigno Aquino 3rd on Monday will ask Congress to appropriate P3 trillion to fund his administration’s final year, a Malacanang official said.
The proposed national budget for 2016 is 15-percent higher than the P2.6-trillion budget for 2015, and comprises 19.5 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product, according to Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr.
Coloma explained that the 2016 budget focuses on the needs of 44 poorest and most vulnerable provinces and on Aquino’s five priority areas: good governance, inclusive growth, sustaining the growth momentum, disaster risk management and peace initiatives.
Of the proposed P3-trillion budget, P2.42 trillion will fund ongoing expenses such as employee salaries, overhead costs and existing programs such as basic education, according to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).
The DBM said the remaining P580.9 billion will support new or expanded programs.
Coloma said the biggest chunk of the budget shall be allocated to Department of Education (DepEd) with P436.5 billion, followed by Department of Public Works and Highways (P401.14 billion), Department of National Defense (P172 billion), Department of Interior and Local Government (P156 billion), Department of Health (P128.5 billion) and Department of Social Welfare and Development (P107.6 billion).
“The combined budgets of the DepEd and the [Public Works department] represent more than a quarter of the total 2016 national budget,” Coloma explained.
Among all the agencies in the Executive department, he noted that the Department of Public Works and Highways and the Department of Health will receive the highest increases in their annual budgets at 32 percent and 25.2 percent, respectively.
This is “part of efforts to boost public infrastructure development and support economic expansion as well as to improve health care services especially to the poor and most vulnerable sectors of society,” Coloma said.
“President Aquino directed all Cabinet members to intensify efforts at completing the delivery of programs, especially those on public infrastructure, including the rehabilitation of Yolanda-affected and other calamity areas, and on strengthening public institutions,” he added.
During the special meeting, Coloma said the President also urged his Cabinet to intensify the implementation of government programs to boost inclusive growth.
Aquino called the attention of the Cabinet on the June 15 report of Time Magazine Asia, which showed the Philippines as having the highest number of citizens saying they were optimistic about finding jobs at 66 percent.
Coloma said the report, which cited a poll covering 130 countries and asked citizens’ opinions on local job opportunities, mirrors a similar survey of the Social Weather Stations in March 2015, which shows that a “very high” number of Filipinos are expecting their personal quality of life to improve.
“The President, who is known for his keen observation of the latest economic trends, said these surveys firmly attest to the efficacy of the economic and social reforms of the administration that have resulted [in]a rapidly expanding job market and a decline in unemployment rate, which was recorded at 6.6 percent as of January 2015,” he added.
“In the remaining months of the Aquino administration, the President called on the Cabinet to intensify the implementation of programs that would further bolster the foundations for sustainable and inclusive growth and progress for all Filipinos,” Coloma saidd.