Aquino submits proposed P2.6-trillion budget for 2015

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014


MANILA -- President Benigno Aquino III, through the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), submitted on Wednesday the government's proposed P2.606-trillion 2015 national budget to the House of Representatives.

The administration's proposed expenditure program for 2015 is 15.1 percent higher from the current year's P2.265-trillion budget, representing 18.4 percent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP) and reflecting the jump in the administration's growth assumption of 7.0-8.0 percent for 2015.

"Our proposed spending program is an expression of the President's unerring commitment to bring inclusive socio-economic development to the people," Budget Secretary Florencio "Butch" Abad said.

(Video by John Carlo Cahinhinan/Sunnex)

Abad said the proposed national budget will be mainly financed by improved revenue generation amounting to P2.337 trillion.

"This revenue target represents a 15.8 percent increase over the 2014 program, and is equivalent to a higher 16.5 percent of GDP," said Abad.

He added that tax revenues amounting to P2.194 trillion will account for 93.9 percent of the total revenue inflow; and the remainder will come from non-tax sources (P140.9 billion) and privatization (P2 billion).

Social services continue to take the lion's share of the proposed 2015 budget, attesting to the administration's continuing pursuit of its antipoverty goals. Social protection and welfare services — which include the provision of basic education and universal health care — account for 37.1 percent of the proposed expenditure program, with P967.9 billion now devoted to the sector.

This amount is 15 percent higher than the P841.8 billion that currently supports social services under the 2014 national budget, and will allow the administration to strengthen its K-12 program, as well as the Universal Health and Conditional Cash Transfer programs, Abad said.

Economic services are still a major mover in the President's inclusive growth campaign, with the 2015 proposed budget directing P700.2 billion towards this sector, he said. This comprises 4.9 percent of the country's GDP and accounts for 27 percent of the expenditure program for the next fiscal year.

At least P339.4 billion in funds will go towards various infrastructure programs, including the construction of national roads and integrated transport systems nationwide.

Some P174.5 billion will be given to Roads and Bridges Program of the Department of Public Works Highways (DPWH); P2 billion for the training and work scholarship program of Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda); and the P592 million rehabilitation project of the Ninoy Aquino international Airport (NAIA) Terminal 1.

Abad also noted that P399.4 billion or 15.3 percent of next year's budget will be allocated to the country's debt burden.

For next year's proposed budget, the government has also earmarked P423.1 billion for general services; P115.5 billion for defense sector, P26.5 billion for net lending, and P372.9 billion for interest payments.

The top 10 departments, which have the largest allocations include Department of Education (P364.958 billion), Department of Public Works and Highways (P300.519 billion), Department of National Defense (P144.036 billion), Department of Interior and Local Government (P141.423 billion), Department of Social Welfare and Development (P108.970 billion), Department of Health (P102.178 billion), Department of Agriculture (P88.818 billion) Department of Transportation and Communications (P59.463 billion), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (P21.290 billion), and the Judiciary (P20.285 billion).

The Budget Secretary also mentioned that there is a budget for Reproductive Health (RH) Law (family health care program) as well as the initial "normalization process for the Bangsamoro areas."

He noted also that P52.7 billion is allocated to Basic Education facilities including 31,728 classrooms.

Abad said that next year's budget proposes national expenditure program, in which 98 percent will be generated form tax and non-tax revenues.

He said that there are 44 provinces that are identified as priority in the budget, mostly located in the so-called danger zone or high-risk areas.

He also noted that the total amount that pertains to the Special Purpose Fund amounts to P501.6 billion.

The Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or the so-called "pork barrel" of the lawmakers in the previous years has been taken out from the proposed budget and House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte assured that next year's budget has no "hidden pork".

"This budget doesn't contain any PDAF," said Belmonte.

The House leader added that Congress will clearly define the meaning of "savings" following Supreme Court's ruling on the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) so that it can be used even before the end of the year legally by Malacanang on other projects after the fiscal year.

"The term 'savings' has no constitutional definition," Belmonte said.

Meanwhile, Abad said the country projects a P283.7-billion deficit for 2015. (SDR/John Carlo Cahinhinan/Sunnex)

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