Friday, October 7, 2016

House approves 2017 P3.35-T national budget


House approves 2017 P3.35-T national budget

The House of Representatives, through viva voce voting, approved on second reading Wednesday night the P3.35-trillion proposed national budget for 2017, dubbed “A Budget for Real Change,” that will fund implementation of President Duterte’s 10-point socioeconomic development agenda.
In a session presided by Speaker Pantaleon D. Alvarez, the House approved House Bill 3408 or the 2017 General Appropriations Bill (GAB). Majority Leader Rodolfo C. Fariñas directed the House members to submit their individual proposed amendments to the committee on appropriations chaired by Rep. Karlo Alexei B. Nograles (1st District, Davao City) on Monday, Oct. 10.

Fariñas said the approval of the maiden budget of the Duterte government by the House under the leadership of Speaker Alvarez was record-setting since the budget measures in previous years took the chamber at least 10 working days to approve in the plenary.

“It usually took us 10 days working until midnight, and prolonging the last day until the succeeding day, to pass the budget,” said Fariñas.

The plenary approval of House Bill 3408 or the 2017 General Appropriations Bill (GAB) came after eight days of marathon plenary debates, beginning last Sept. 26, on the budgets of the various government departments, attached agencies, and other offices. Prior to the floor debates, the committee on appropriations held 33 committee hearings and 22 pre-plenary conferences to ensure full scrutiny of the budgets of the different government offices.

Nograles lauded the timely approval of the GAB and thanked his colleagues for their support and cooperation in passing the measure.

“I am happy with the swift approval of the 2017 General Appropriations Bill. This is one big step towards the realization of President Duterte’s agenda for true and meaningful change. This budget will fuel our quest for reforms that would uplift the lives of our people and fight the many evils plaguing our nation, such as drugs, crime and corruption. This is one big step towards the fulfilment of our aspirations as a nation,” said Nograles.

Nograles added: “We have answered to the challenge of completing the plenary deliberations on the 2017 national budget and its passage in the House to be forwarded to the Senate in record time. This is the first General Appropriations Act of the new Duterte Administration. The manner by which we meticulously worked on every item is indicative of the urgency for change that President Duterte himself has initiated on the first day of his term.”

Nograles described the 2017 GAB as a budget that is truly for the people, of the people, and by the people, a budget that underlines what inclusiveness means, He said it is a budget that would effectively address the areas that have not been given sufficient attention, encompasses the broad spectrum of a balanced horizon for development, and will make the people feel confident that this administration truly cares for their welfare.

In expressing gratitude to his colleagues, Nograles said: “Thank you for the support you have given to our Committee on Appropriations and for the guidance all of you gave through the long hours of discourse. Today, the budget we pass; tomorrow the nation it serves.”

Rep. Jericho Nograles (Party-list, PBA) also lauded the House timely approval of the 2017 GAB. “The swift passage is an affirmation of our commitment in the House to support the President’s agenda for change. With this budget, our government is better equipped in implementing its reform agenda and better armed in its war against drugs, crime and corruption. I’m truly proud that the House managed to transcend partisan politics and pass the budget sooner than usual,” said Nograles.

In his Budget Message to lawmakers, President Duterte urged them to scrutinize the budget and approve it.

“More than being a collection of figures and provisions, the proposed 2017 national budget is the embodiment of our people’s clamor for real change and a compassionate government,” the President said, adding that his commitment to implement real change lies at the core of the proposed budget.

“This is my administration’s first budget. It is a budget that gives flesh and bone to the promise by which I won as President, which is to fight for social justice. It was designed to realize change in the here and now. This budget is for the people and by the people,” said the President.

The proposed budget of P3.35-trillion is 11.6 percent higher than the current year’s budget of P3.002 trillion. It is 20.4 percent of the GDP compared to this year’s 20.1 percent of GDP according to the Department of Budget and Management.

The top 10 agencies in terms of budgetary allocations are: Department of Education (DepEd), P567.5 billion; Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), P458.6 billion; Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), P150 billion; Department of National Defense (DND), P134.5 billion; Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), P129.9 billion; Department of Health (DOH), P94 billion; State Universities and Colleges (SUCs), P58.8 billion; Department of Transportation (DOTr), P55.4 billion; Department of Agriculture (DA), P45.2 billion; and Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), P41.7 billion.

Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno said the 2017 national budget is “A Budget for Real Change” because it focuses resources on programs and projects that will achieve the Duterte administration’s 10-point socioeconomic development agenda.

Of the P3.35 trillion national budget, Diokno said: 40 percent will be for empowering human resources through education, healthcare, social welfare and other social services; 27.6 percent for economic services to fix the broken infrastructure network, boost agricultural and rural sector, and generate more jobs and livelihood; and 22 percent for general public services and defense.

The breakdown of allocations for the 10-point socioeconomic development agenda of the Duterte administration according to Diokno is as follows : infrastructure, P860.7 billion which is 13.8 percent higher than this year’s budget; rule of law, P119.4 billion for the Philippine National Police (PNP) which is 24.6 percent higher than this year and P130.6 billion for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to support the administration’s drive against crime, illegal drugs and terrorism, and P32.5 billion to declog the courts; agriculture and agrarian reform, P120.5 billion; technology and innovation, P3.56 billion for the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and P20.8 billion for the Department of Science and Technology (DOST); education, P699.95 billion; health, P151.5 billion; social welfare and sustainable livelihood, P129.9 billion for the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and P13.5 billion for the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE); energy, P5.6 billion for electrification; and disaster risk reduction and environmental protection, P37.3 billion for the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund (NDRRMF) and P29.4 billion for the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).


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