THE House of Representatives has approved the P3.002-trillion 2016 national government budget with a vote of 230 to 20.
Party-list Rep. Terry Ridon of Kabataan said lower chamber passed the “lump-sum loaded” House Bill (HB) 6132, or the General Appropriations Act for 2016.
“The P3.002-trillion national budget that the House passed on Friday is a budget loaded with lump sums and billions of funds designed to serve as the ruling party’s campaign war chest,” Ridon said.
He said that the P3.002-trillion national budget for 2016 is almost double the P1.54-trillion national budget in 2010, saying the budget will be financed by P2.7 billion in projected government revenues, leaving an estimated P308.7-billion deficit.
“Compared year-on-year, programmed appropriations increased by 19 percent, from P1.7 trillion in the 2015 budget to P2.07 trillion, while unprogrammed appropriations decreased by 47.2 percent to P67.5 billion.
Automatic appropriations increased by 7.4 percent, from the current P866.2 billion to P930.7 billion, while SPFs increased by 75.2 percent, from P245.7 billion to P430.4 billion, Ridon said.
He said that almost 37 percent, or P1.1 trillion, of the national budget is appropriated for social services; while 17.25 percent, or P517.9 billion, is for general public services; 27.6 percent, or P829.6 billion, is for economic services; 13.9 percent, or P419.3 billion, is for debt servicing; and 4.3 percent, or P129.1 billion, is for defense.
Ridon also said that the 2016 budget is called the “legacy budget” that was clearly “designed for corruption.”
In 2016 debt service is still top priority, with the total national government debt service expenditure amounting to P740.5 billion (P392.79 billion for interest payments, P347.7 billion for principal amortization). In contrast, the education budget is only P504.6 billion, he said.
For his part, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., who presided over the session prior to the Friday voting, declared, “With this nominal voting and subject to such amendments as may be approved by the small committee earlier created, HB 6132 is approved on third and final reading.”
HB 6132 topped the vital bills approved by the House, that the Speaker said proved the lawmakers’ firm commitment to pursue reform measures for sustained and inclusive growth of the economy.
Belmonte said the 2016 national budget is the country’s best weapon to combat the possibly harsh El Niño occurrence and persistent global economic slowdown threatening the country.
For fiscal year 2016, the proposed budget amounting to P3.002 trillion nearly doubles the 2010 national budget. It is also 15.2 percent more than the 2015 appropriations and represents the highest budget increase in the last six years. Moreover, it is 19.5 percent of the GDP, which is much bigger than the share in 2010 of 16.4 percent, the Speaker said.
The top 10 departments that have bigger allocation next year are the departments of Education, 435.9 billion; Public Works and Highways, P394.5 billion; National Defense, P172.7 billion; the Interior and Local Government, P154.5 billion; Health, P128.4 billion; Social Welfare and Development, P104.2 billion; Agriculture, P93.4 billion; Finance, P55.3 billion; Transportation and Communications, P49.3 billion; Environment and Natural Resources, P25.8 billion; and Science and Technology, P18.6 billion.