Education Gets Biggest Budget Allocation

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Education (DepEd) gets the biggest allocation in the proposed P2.006-trillion national budget for 2013 as the Aquino administration aims to solve the shortage in teachers and classrooms by next year, according to Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Florencio "Butch" Abad.

The DepEd gets P292.7 billion for 2013, or P55.9-billion more than its P238.8-billion budget this year.

"Next year, for the first time in Philippine history, we provided enough budget to the DepEd to hire 61,510 teachers," Abad said in a press briefing in the Palace yesterday.

The construction and rehabilitation of 31,789 classrooms will "finally close the teacher and classroom gap," said Abad.

Following the DepEd in terms of budget allocation are: the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) with P152.9-billion; Department of National Defense (DND), P121.6-billion; Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), P120.8-billion; Department of Agriculture (DA), P74.1-billion; Department of Health (DOH), P56.8-billion; Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), P56.2-billion; Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), P37.1-billion; Department of Finance (DOF), P33.2-billion; and Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), P23.7-billion.

Abad said the DOF and the DENR "got biggest increases" while "huge investments" in the social services "continue to have the largest constantly increasing share of the budget."

He said the proposed 2013 budget provides for performance-based bonuses, ranging from P5,000 to P35,000 per employee.

"With this budget, we want to strengthen also the accountability of public institutions and public servants to perform their mandate and therefore, we continue to deepen performance-based management systems in government," Abad said.

The performance based bonus, he said, will be on top of the P5,000 productivity enhancement incentive (PEI) given annually during December.

Abad said government agencies will be ranked "best," "better," "good," or "poor" based on performance. Those agencies that did not achieve 90 percent of its target will not be included in the bonus system. From those government agencies with high rankings, the administration will select employees who are performing well.

The 2013 National Expenditure Program will be submitted to Congress on July 24, 2012, a day after President Aquino delivers his State of the Nation Address (SONA).

Abad said the Aquino administration remains hopeful that Congress would continue the support it had given last year in the early passage of the budget.

"We hope that the same concerns and support will be demonstrated by the Congress once again. Previously, we consulted leaders of Congress about the orientation and priorities in the budget and they support the administration in the allocation that we have provided in those areas so we hope that once again, we should be able to pass this budget before Christmas," he said.

The 2013 proposed national budget of P2.006-trillion is higher than last year by 10.5 percent or about P190-billion.

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