The Senate ratified the bicameral conference committee report on the proposed P2.006-trillion national budget for 2013 on Wednesday afternoon.
This came after Senator Franklin Drilon, chair of the Senate Committee on Finance Committee, reported the approval General Appropriations Act for the next fiscal year earlier on the same day.
Drilon said the budget, which will be submitted to President Benigno “Noyoy” Aquino III for enactment into law, is “a tool for empowerment” that is 10.5 percent higher than this year’s P1.816 trillion budget.
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“This year’s budget is expected to provide much needed funds aimed at improving government’s infrastructure projects, thereby enhancing public services and providing more jobs, better healthcare services, and education,” Drilon said.
“The budget of P2.006 trillion for 2013 remains intact, with the only difference being the P100 million priority development assistance fund (PDAF) of Senator Panfilo Lacson, whose term of office ends on 2013,” he noted.
Drilon clarified the bicameral committee has approved a motion from some congressmen, who moved to allocate P100 million for the creation of more national high schools in the country.
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He said the budget maintains big chunks for Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Education, and Department of Health (DOH).
“The approved budget reflects the trust of the President on social services with the highest allocation for education, likewise the Conditional Cash Transfer, and for the Department of Health,” Drilon said.
The acting chair of Senate Committee on Ways and Means also enumerated the top ten departments that will be receiving the bulk of the budget like:
Department of Education (P293.32 billion)
Department of Public Works and Highways (P152.4 billion)
Department of National Defense (P121.6 billion)
Department of Interior and Local Government (P121.12 billion)
Department of Agriculture (P74.1 billion)
Department of Health (P56.8 billion)
Department of Social Welfare and Development (P56.2 billion)
Department of Transportation and Communications (P37.1 billion)
Department of Finance (P33.2 billion) and
Department of Environment and Natural Resources (to P23.7 billion)
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But he explained some budgetary requirements for DOH still depend on the passage of Sin Tax Reform bill, which is still pending before the bicameral conference committee.
He added the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) was also given sufficient budget in order to pursue the infrastructure program of the Aquino administration.
Philippine President Benigno Aquino is to seek more aid when he meets with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe this week, more than a month after a monster typhoon killed thousands and left millions homeless. Aquino and Abe are expected to witness the signing of "exchanges of notes", including a post-disaster standby loan worth about 10 billion yen ($100 million), foreign office spokesman Raul Hernandez said Monday. "During the meeting the two leaders will discuss cooperation on disaster …