PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III on Tuesday signed next year’s P3.002-trillion budget, the same day he asked where the government funds had gone when he took over from President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2010.
“If you will recall, when I was elected President the national budget was already being used in 2010, and we just inherited the proposed budget of 2011,” Aquino said.
He said they were able to correct the 2011 national budget, and that from the original total national budget of P1.54 trillion for 2010, only P100 billion or 6.5 percent was left in spite of the still remaining six months in the year.
“My question is: Where did the money go?” Aquino said.
He said Arroyo usually approved a reenacted budget, although in some allocations the budget for a certain project had already been used.
Meanwhile, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said the administration was able to double the budget for 2016 as compared to when the Aquino administration was just starting out in 2010.
“With this budget we have doubled the national budget since 2010 and we are providing the largest sectoral allocation to social services. This budget also caps the administration’s record of enacting the budget in time for a perfect six straight times,” Abad said.
He said the 2016 budget, which is higher by P396 billion or 15.2 percent than the P2.606-trillion 2014 budget, would continue the administration’s commitment of focusing on social services that directly benefit individual citizens, with education and health getting P436.5 billion and P128.5 billion, respectively.
Social services, which also cover housing, livelihood and community-driven projects, account for P1.106 trillion or 36.8 percent of the budget, while economic services, which cover infrastructure, agriculture, transport and communications, account for P829.6 billion or 27.6 percent.
General public services will take in P517.9 billion or 17.3 percent, while defense and security will receive P129.1 billion.
Abad said the defense allocation reflects an increase of 11.5 percent from 2015 to address the budgetary needs of AFP modernization in light of the territorial disputes in the South China Sea.
Only 14 percent of the budget will go to debt interest payment, the lowest-ever debt payment allocation that the government has set in 10 years, further underscoring how the budget favors poverty alleviation through people empowerment, Abad said.
“For six straight years, the administration consistently focused the budget on programs that have a great impact on the needs of the poorest communities, while being aware of the need to ensure that the allocations for services also function as long-term investments towards lasting inclusive growth,” Abad said.
“A case in point would have to be education, taking on the largest sectoral allocation and marking a growth rate increase of 16 percent.
“It can be gleaned that for every P100 of the 2016 budget, around P64 will be spent on social and economic services. This clearly shows how the government is wisely investing on its people, with the foresight of supporting services that will keep serving their needs long into the future.”