|SPEAKER FELICIANO BELMONTE JR. presides over the session of the House of Representatives which approved a bloated national government appropriations measure for 2016
QUEZON CITY — After President Benigno S. Aquino III certified as urgent the proposed P3.002 trillion national government budget for 2016, the House of Representatives immediately approved it on October 9 on third and final reading.
The budget will now go under the scrutiny and eventual approval by the Senate, then both chambers of Congress will reconcile their differences and approve a unified national government appropriations measure which then will be submitted to the President for signing into law.
The proposed P3.002 trillion national budget for 2016 is considered the highest appropriations measure on record. It is touted to continue to expand the national economy and sustain governance and budget reforms that the administration of President Aquino has instituted in the last five years.
House Bill 6132, or the General Appropriations Bill of 2016, was passed in plenary session by nominal voting – with 230 lawmakers voting for its approval, 20 against and no abstentions.
The certification allowed the chamber to pass the measure on second and third reading on the same day.
Normally, a bill can be approved on third reading at least three days after it is passed on second reading to give lawmakers time to read any amendments.
With its passage at the House of Representatives, the proposed 2016 budget would now be transmitted to the Senate.
Next year’s proposed budget is 15.2 percent or P 396 billion higher from the current year’s budget of P2.606 trillion.
In the 2016 proposed budget, Social Services has the biggest allocation of P1.1059 trillion, comprising 36.8 percent of the total budget.
Covering education, housing, healthcare and social welfare and employment, this sector received a 16.1 increase (P153.2 billion) from the 2015 allocation of P952.7 billion.
Economic Services came second at P829.6 billion (27.64 percent of the proposed budget) while the Defense Sector received P129.1 billion.
The defense allocation will fund the modernization of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in light off the territorial disputes in the West Philippine Sea.
By departments, the Department of Education (DepEd) again garnered the highest allocation with P435.8 billion – an increase of 15.4 percent from this year’s budget of P377.7 billion.
The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) got the second highest allocation with P394.5 billion or an increase of P 90.4 billion (29.7 percent) from this year’s budget of P304.1 billion.
The Department of National Defense (DND) came in third at P172.7 billion with an increase of P18.6 billion than this year’s allocated budget.
Rounding up the top ten in highest allocations are the Departments of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) with P154.5 billion; Health (DOH) with P128.4 billion; Social Welfare and Development (DWSD) with P104.2 billion; Agriculture (DA) with P 93.4 billion; Finance (DOF) with P53.3 billion; Transportation and Communications (DOTC) with P49.3 billion; and Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) with P25.8 billion.
Meanwhile, Congress will go on three-week break starting this Saturday to give way to the filing of certificates of candidacy (CoC) from Oct. 12 to 16.
Lawmakers will resume work on Nov. 3.