The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) is set to propose a 2.268-trillion expenditure program for fiscal year 2014 to support the government’s purported goal of inclusive growth.
In a statement, the DBM said that the proposed budget for next year is 13.1 percent, or P262.1 billion higher than the P2.006 trillion 2013 national budget.
“Now, however, our focus is to optimize these reform initiatives and the successes we’ve tracked so far—particularly in fiscal management—to make growth more far-ranging and inclusive for Filipinos,” Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said.
The Department of Education’s (DepEd) budget is up by 15 percent with P336.9 billion in the 2014 proposed budget.
The DBM noted that the additional allocation will help cover the basic education needs of at least 16,862,916 Filipino students in the kindergarten, elementary, and secondary school levels.
In a radio interview, Palace deputy spokesperson Abigail Valte confirmed that the DepEd would get the biggest share in next year’s proposed budget.
Under the DepEd’s proposed budget, a total of P44.6 billion—77 percent higher than this year’s allocation—for the provision and maintenance of basic educational facilities.
The DBM also said that included in the DepEd’s proposed budget is a P8.6-billion allocation for the creation of 33,194 teaching positions across the country.
Moreover, the agency said that other social services under key implementing agencies would likewise receive significant increases under the proposed 2014 budget.
The DBM is seeking a 45.5-percent budget boost for the Department of Health (DOH)—the highest budget increase among all agencies—with a total of P87.1 billion set for the agency.
Of this, with P35.3 billion set for the Premium Health Subsidy of 14.7 million indigent families to support the Administration’s bid for universal health care for all Filipinos, as well as another P18 billion set for the construction, rehabilitation, and improvement of Specialized Hospitals, Barangay Health Stations and Rural Health Units, in line with the agency’s Health Facilities Enhancement Program.
“By committing substantial budget support to our banner social programs, we can address existing gaps in the country’s education and health system, as well as enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of our major antipoverty initiatives,” Abad said.
Meanwhile, the Department of Social Welfare and Development also sees a 40-percent budget increase which brings the budget to a total of P78.9 billion to support the continued implementation of its programs like the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), which will be expanded to help an additional 10 million children as well as an additional 157,630 households that qualify for the program.
The DBM is also pushing for a P213.5-billion allocation—40.1 percent higher than last year’s budget—for the development, construction, and rehabilitation of national roads and bridges under the Department of Public Works and Highways.
The Department of Transportation and Communications, on the other hand, will receive P48.7 billion—31.4 percent up from its 2014 budget—for the implementation of its transport infrastructure projects, including those for air, maritime, and rail transport.
Other economic services crucial to driving inclusive growth will also receive broader expenditure support in 2014, including agricultural development initiatives like irrigation network services and the construction of farm-to-market roads, which will be supported with a proposed P24.6 billion and P12 billion, respectively.
“The expansion of the 2014 National Budget will account for the advancement of economic services that will help us sustain our fiscal momentum,” Abad said.
WITH A REPORT FROM CATHERINE S. VALENTE