House passes Php 2.6-trillion national budget for 2015

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The House of Representatives approved on third and final reading on Wednesday, October 29,  the proposed Php 2.606-trillion national budget for 2015.

House Bill No. 4968 or the General Appropriations Bill of 2015 was passed in plenary session by nominal voting — with 197 lawmakers voting for its approval, 27 against and no abstentions.

UNGABUngab downplays ‘errata’

The House of Representatives appropriations committee chair ealier on Tuesday downplayed the Makabayan bloc’s claims that some P430 billion in the 2015 budget were erroneous and had bypassed the plenary.

Appropriations panel chair Davao City Rep. Isidro Ungab said the budget errata wants to correct only P4.7 billion in the P2.6 trillion budget as opposed to some P430 billion that Makabayan claimed was erroneous.

“The issues being created regarding the budget amendments or errata are actually erroneous and misleading. The amendments in the budget only resulted in a net effect of only P4.7 billion.” Ungab said in a statement.

With its passage at the House, the proposed budget will be immediately submitted to the Senate.

House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. and Senate President Franklin Drilon have both earlier vowed that Congress will pass next year’s budget before the current year ends.

Next year’s proposed budget is 15.1 percent higher than the current year’s budget of Php 2.265 trillion and accounts for key expenditure requirements for social development and inclusive growth initiatives under the Aquino Administration.

The 2015 Budget –- aptly themed “Kaunlaran para sa Lahat” -– takes off from the achievements that the Aquino Administration has so far recorded over the past four years and shows the progression of the government’s priorities.

Under the proposed 2015 budget, the Social Services sector continues to take the lion’s share with Php 967.9 billion -– representing 37.1 percent share of the budget — attesting to the Administration’s continuing pursuit of its anti-poverty goal.

This is 15 percent higher than this year’s allocation of Php 841.8 billion.

Of the said amount, Php 64.7 billion is allocated to the Conditional Cash Transfer program to support 4.4 million beneficiaries.

Meanwhile, Php 37.2 billion is allocated to Health Insurance to cover 15.5 million beneficiaries while another Php 52.7 billion is allocated to Basic Educational Facilities, including the construction of 31,728 new classrooms and 13,586 water and sanitation facilities.

The Economic Services sector will get Php 700.2 billion which is higher by 18.1 percent than this year’s allocation of Php 593.1 billion.

The Department of Education (DepEd) continues to get the largest allocation at Php 364.9 billion, higher than its 2014 budget which is at Php 336.9 billion.

This is followed by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) with Php 213.5 billion allocation compared to the previous Php 152.4 billion – an increase of 40.1 percent.

The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) will get Php 135.4 billion, which is 11.2 percent higher than this year’s Php 121.8 billion.

Completing the top 10 agencies with the biggest allocations for 2014 are the Departments of National Defense (DND) with Php 123.1 billion; Health (DOH) with Php 87.1 billion; Agriculture (DA), Php 80.7 billion; Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Php 79 billion; Transportation and Communications (DOTC), Php 48.7 billion; Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Php 23.9 billion; and Agrarian Reform (DAR), Php 20.4 billion. (PNA)
SCS/CMR

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