VOTING 20-0, the Senate last night approved on third and final reading the proposed P3.35 trillion national budget for 2017.
The bicameral conference committee will meet today to harmonize the conflicting provisions in the Senate and House of Representatives’ versions of the proposed General Appropriations Act (GAA) for 2017.
Sen. Loren Legarda earlier said that the proposed 2017 GAA aims to ensure that the quality of life and well-being of Filipinos are taken into consideration in the plans, programs and activities of government.
Legarda, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Finance, said that aside from measuring growth via traditional economic yardsticks of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and Gross National Product (GNP), it is equally important to measure the level of happiness, satisfaction and quality of life of Filipinos.
“Economic growth, per se, does not ensure the well-being of citizens so that a more accurate measure of development needs to be explored. We have encouraged the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) to incorporate the pillars of Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness (GNH) indicator,” she said.
During the plenary deliberations on the proposed budget of NEDA, Sen. Gringo Honasan supported the call of Legarda to adopt the GNH, noting that other countries have started adopting the concept and that Ecuador, Bhutan, Venezuela, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) even have ministers of happiness.
She has included a special provision under the proposed 2017 GAA that requires NEDA to ensure that the implementation of programs, projects and activities in the GAA shall contribute towards the improvement of the level of happiness in the country, as measured through GNH.