By Cielito M. Reganit
Malacañang on Tuesday submitted to the House of Representatives its proposed P2.006-trillion 2013 National Budget, a day after President Benigno Aquino III delivered his third State of the Nation Address (SONA).
Budget and Management Secretary Florencio Abad presented the Budget of Expenditures and Sources of Financing as well as other supporting documents to House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. in simple ceremonies held at the Batasang Pambansa Complex in Quezon City.
The proposed 2013 budget is 10.5 percent or P190 billion higher from the current year’s budget of P1.816 trillion. It represents 16.8 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Abad said next year’s budget, dubbed as an “empowerment budget”, reinforces the administration’s commitment to fulfill the Aquino administration’s Social Contract with the Filipino people and seeks to drive up stronger economic growth in the next fiscal year.
“In crafting the 2013 budget, the Aquino administration was determined to build on the gains we have so far posted, as well as encourage more robust and inclusive fiscal growth in the coming year and beyond. To truly empower Filipinos with this budget, we intensified civic society and grassroots involvement in budget preparations so that the resulting expenditure plan accounts for the needs of the ordinary Filipino,” Abad said.
The Budget Secretary said the combined budgetary allocations of social and economic services to the tune of P1.210 trillion — 60.3 percent of the P2.006-trillion budget — supports the achievement of the said target.
Under next year’s appropriation, social services allocation alone is 13.9 percent or P85 billion higher than the P613.4 billion outlay for the sector in 2012.
Among the departments, the Department of Education (DepEd) continues to get the largest allocation at P292.7 billion, which is P55.9 billion higher than its P238.8-billion budget in 2012.
This is followed by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) with P152.9 billion allocation compared to the previous P126.4 billion. The Department of National Defense (DND) will get P121.6 billion next year which is P13.5 billion higher than the 2012 allocation of P108.1 billion.
Completing the top 10 agencies with the biggest allocations for 2013 are the Departments of Interior and Local Government (DILG) with P121.1 billion; Agriculture (DA) with P74.1 billion; Health (DOH) with P56.8 billion; Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) with P56.2 billion; Transportation and Communications (DOTC) with P37.1 billion; Finance (DOF) with P33.2 billion; and Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) with P23.7 billion.
In the meantime, Speaker Belmonte congratulated Secretary Abad and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) for the early submission of the 2013 Budget saying it will give the House of Representatives ample time to thoroughly scrutinize it and facilitate its early passage in Congress.