President Benigno Aquino 3rd on Friday signed the P2.265-trillion porkless budget for 2014, the biggest budget ever approved in the country.
This is the first time that the appropriations law contained no allocation for the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel, which was recently declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.
Next year’s allocation is P2 billion, or 13 percent higher than this year’s P2.006 trillion.
The biggest allocations were for the Conditional Cash Transfer program and the construction and repair of public classroom, at P62.6 billion and P44.6 billion, respectively.
Meanwhile, P841.8 billion was allotted for social services, P593.1 billion for economic services including P94.3 billion allocation for road construction, P10.7 billion for technical support services, and P5.5 billion for tourism promotion.
The government’s disaster preparedness and rehabilitation programs also received one of the biggest increases.
Besides the P16.9-billion quick response fund distributed to different line agencies, the government also allocated P100 billion lump sum rehabilitation fund for calamity-hit areas.
Of the P100 billion, P80 billion will be used to fund rehabilitation programs. The remaining P20 billion will be divided among various local government units and agencies.
This amount is in addition to the already approved P14.6-billion supplemental budget, as well as the remaining P12 billion in 2013 calamity funds.
In his speech, the President said priority was given to “inclusive development.”
“We will not allow the mistakes of the past to be repeated. We are continuously improving on the strategy we laid out when we began treading the straight path. Through proper spending—and through cooperation with partner institutions—we will equip the government with the wherewithal to respond to any situation confronting our country,” he said
Aquino said that this is the country’s first Performance-Informed Budget, which outlines specific targets that agencies must achieve.
“This is our way of ensuring the accountability of agencies and departments to the Filipino people. I encourage the public to examine the performance targets of agencies and to be one with us in monitoring the performance of their duties, the moment the approved GAA is published in the website of the Department of Budget and Management,” The President said
“Through this process, we are not just removing programs and processes which lead to waste, or have been proven to be inefficient—we are crafting this Budget to answer all the needs of the Filipino people. The data outlined in the thick book I have signed may change every year, but the spirit of our Budget always remains the same: the money of the people is solely for the people. Every centavo in our nation’s coffers should be used for the welfare and the advancement of our Bosses,” he added
Aquino thanked Congress for passing the budget bill on time.
“Our principle remains the same: The trust given to our leadership by the people will be repaid by us through honest and efficient service. Every second we spend working will be allotted to measures that will secure a brighter future for Filipinos,” he added
Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said that the approved budget “responds aptly to the times.”
“For instance, the clamor to abolish PDAF has persisted for decades, and only under this Administration was this call successfully heeded. It is exactly this pattern of citizen engagement that we believe in and aspire to, where Filipinos are further empowered to be our active partners in ensuring governance reform and inclusive growth in the country,” Abad said.