WITH only minimal amendments and no realignment, the House of Representatives yesterday approved on third reading the proposed 2017 national budget.
Two hundred forty-three members of the House voted for the approval of the budget, five dissented and 1 abstained.
The first budget of President Rodrigo Duterte amounts to P3.35 trillion, which is 11 percent higher than the previous administration’s budget of P3.006 trillion.
According to Deputy Speaker Rolando Andaya, the major amendments will be discussed during the bicameral conference committee.
“Very minimal ang mga amendments. We are trying to connect the actual numbers with the President’s budget message, and added the major changes would come in the bicameral,” Andaya said.
House Bill 3408 or the General Appropriations Bill, is dubbed “Budget for Real Change.”
The bicameral conference committee will be held when session resumes next month. Congress will have its short break starting today until November 7.
Andaya assured the public that among their concerns like the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) will be retained under the Duterte government.
Lawmakers said next year’s budget will fund the implementation of President Duterte’s 10-point socioeconomic development agenda.
Appropriations committee chairman Rep. Karlo Alexei 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 fulfillment of our aspirations as a nation,” Nograles said.
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.
Of the P3.35 trillion national budget, 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 is as follows: infrastructure, P860.7 billion, P119.4 billion for the Philippine National Police (PNP) 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).