SENATOR Loren Legarda is proud of the work that the upper chamber had done to craft the P3.35 trillion national budget for 2017, the first budget of the new Duterte administration.
President Rodrigo Duterte yesterday signed the Congress-approved P3.35 trillion 2017 General Appropriations Act (GAA). “Through this budget, we aim to fuel hope and inspire our people to believe in our collective future again,” she said.
Legarda, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Finance, said the 2017 GAA is pro-people as it addresses the most basic needs of the people while improving the country’s economic growth.
“We have provided funds to ensure universal healthcare coverage, free irrigation for farmers, free tuition in state universities and colleges (SUCs), additional allowance for teachers, police and military, rice allowance for conditional cash transfer beneficiaries, creation of drug rehabilitation centers, increase in prisoners’ subsistence allowance, pension for Post World War II veterans and centenarians, among many others,” said Legarda.
“A leap in infrastructure spending is also one of the priorities of the 2017 budget given its indispensable role in poverty reduction, raising productivity, and in spreading the benefits of economic growth,” she said.
Among the highlights of the budget is the strong support for education with the increased budget worth P8 billion for the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) so that all college students enrolled in state universities and colleges (SUCs) will not have to pay for their tuition.
The budget for SUCs was also increased to provide additional funds for scholarship and capital outlay for all SUCs. College students belonging to family-beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) are covered by the Expanded Students’ Grants in Aid Program for Poverty Alleviation (ESGP-PA); while those who are not part of the 4Ps can avail of financial assistance for educational purposes under the Student Financial Assistance Programs (StuFAPs) both under CHEd and SUCs.