by Joann Santiago, Philippine News Agency | Friday, 15 July 2016
The inter-agency Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) is set to recommend to President Rodrigo R. Duterte a Php 3.35 trillion national budget for 2017, Budget and Management Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno said Thursday.
Diokno said the proposed national budget for next year was 11.6 percent higher than this year’s Php 3.001 trillion budget and would support the current administration’s programs focused on infrastructure, human resources, agriculture and rural development and to help lagging regions.
Next year’s proposed budget accounts for 20.4 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), up from the 20.1 percent share on GDP of this year’s national budget.
Funds for the construction of schools buildings was proposed to increase by 44 percent to Php 118 billion while Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD) Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) was suggested to be allocated Php 54.9 billion, to cover 4,402,253 households.
Allocation for senior citizens under the Social Pension for Indigent Senior Filipino Citizens was proposed to amount to Php 17.9 billion, for about 2,809,542 beneficiaries.
Health insurance premium payment allocation for indigent families was proposed to increase by 15 percent to Php 50 billion.
Diokno said they would implement a two-tier budgeting approach to be called 2TBA starting next year.
The first tier will focus on discussion and deliberation of ongoing projects and programs while Tier 2 will concentrate on new and expanding proposals.
Diokno added that national budget starting next year would be strictly compliant with the High Court’s decision on the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).
He also clarified that the Php 80 million allotment for each member of the House of Representatives is “only hypothetical and should not be legally considered pork barrel” since budget for the programs they propose would be released to implementing agencies.
“It must be remembered that legislators are representatives of their constituents and are thus, in the best position to determine the needs of their people. It is but expected that for Legislators to properly do their job, they must ensure that funding for the needs of their constituents are included in the budget they will pass,” he added. (PNA)