Social services gets biggest slice of 2013 budget-A A +A
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
THE government has earmarked P698.4 billion or 34.8 percent of the P2.006 trillion proposed budget for fiscal year 2013 for social services, a Budget official said Tuesday.
In his presentation of the 2013 budget, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said the allocation for social services remains the largest among the other sector allocations. It is 13.9 percent or P85 billion higher than the P613.4 billion outlay for the sector in 2012.
He said it is in line with the government's priority agenda of reducing poverty incidence to 16.6 percent by 2016.
"Social services will continue to have the largest constantly increasing share of the budget at 34.8 percent in 2013 from 33.8 percent to further boost poverty reduction programs and investment in the capacities of our people," he said.
Abad said top departments that will get principal share of the budget include Department of Education (DepEd), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Department of National Defense (DND), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Health (DOH), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) and Department of Finance (DOF).
He said the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) got the biggest increase in the budget for next year.
Amid the issue in the West Philippine Sea, Abad also said that the Defense department would be getting bigger allocations it never had before.
He said if Congress approves the AFP Modernization Act, which will set aside about P78 billion for a five-year modernization program, then every year, the DND will be getting at least P15 billion to modernize its operations.
He also pointed out the budget increase is not solely for the use of the DND in strengthening its monitoring and security in the West Philippine Sea but also for bolstering the capabilities of the Philippine Coast Guard and the Bureau of Aquatic and Fisheries Resources.
To support the launch of the K-12 program, the DepEd has been allocated with a total of P292.7 billion, 22.6 percent or P55.9 billion more than its P238.8-billion budget in 2012.
Abad said this allocation will support the closure of all education resource gaps in 2013 through the construction and rehabilitation of 31,789 classrooms with accompanying furniture and sanitation facilities; the hiring of 61,510 teachers, procurement of 31.1 million textbooks and teachers’ manuals, among others.
DOH, meanwhile, will receive an allocation of P56.8 billion, which is 24 percent or P11 billion higher than its 2012 budget of P45.8 billion to support the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals on Health.
This amount will support the coverage of 5.2 million poor households under the National Health Insurance Program, the construction and rehabilitation of 2,243 rural health units and 403 district hospitals, and the deployment of 22,500 nurses and other healthcare professionals to the barrios.
The DSWD budget was increased by P56.8 billion, a 15-percent increase from its P48.8-billion budget in 2012 to ensure the delivery of effective social protection packages. Bulk of this amount, at P44.3 billion, will support the coverage of 3.8 million indigent households under the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, from the targeted 2.3 million households this year.
The 2013 budget also provides increased outlays for safe and affordable housing for informal settlers, especially those living in danger zones; as well as for police, military and other uniformed personnel.
An estimated total of 103,000 households will benefit from a total P26.63-billion outlays for housing and community mortgage programs of the National Housing Authority and the National Home Mortgage and Finance Corporation.
"We're calling it an Empowerment Budget because every government peso that is spent in this budget is meant to benefit the people especially the poor. So, in that way, we feel that we are empowering them," Abad said.
He said the budget was crafted guided by five principles including the President’s commitment to his social contract, accelerated completion of priority program targets, stronger government accountability to perform, transparency, and greater stakeholder participation in budget preparation and execution.
"We have undertaken greater discussions with the civil society organizations, the business community, as well as community organizations to bottom up budget process," the Budget chief said.
As a strategy to accelerate the completion of public infrastructure and other projects, Abad said there would be pre-bidding of projects right after the submission of the proposed budget to Congress, so that the notices of award can be issued on the first day of fiscal year 2013.
To ensure that public funds go to the right priorities, he said the DBM continued to apply the zero-based budgeting approach.
The DBM also sustained its policy against lump-sum budgets not only to deter fund misuse but also to improve budget implementation.
Meanwhile, to reward agencies and public servants who meet and even surpass their performance targets, a performance-based incentives system will be introduced this year, so that the first wave of performance bonuses will be granted in early 2013.
These strategies, Abad said, are seen to improve the currently weak planning, programming and implementation capacities of agencies.
"The performance-based bonus will be based on performance…We will look at the bureaus that perform best, better, good, and poor; meaning, if you don’t achieve 90 percent of your target as measured by the major final outputs with their respective indicators, then you are not included in the bonus system," he said adding that employees who perform at their best will also be rewarded.
The government will submit the 2013 budget on July 24, a day after President Aquino deliver his third State of the Nation Address.
Abad said the Palace expects the same cooperation from Congress like in the past in approving the budget.
"We hope that the same concern and support will be demonstrated by Congress once again and we’ve had prior, previous meetings to consult the leaders of Congress about the orientation and the priorities in the budget and they support the administration in the allocations that we have provided in those priorities. We hope that once again, we should be able to pass this budget before Christmas,” he said. (Jill Beltran/Sunnex)