Straight News, Smart Views|Friday, April 20, 2018

President Aquino approved the proposed 2016 national budget 

cabinet meeting

Re-published from Interksyon – President Aquino approved the proposed 2016 national budget – the last under him – after presiding over a Cabinet meeting Monday that firmed up the plans, programs and projects contained in the proposed P3.002 trillion national expenditure program.

The proposed sum represents a 15.2-percent increase from the 2015 national budget of P2.603 trillion, and comprises 19.5 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product, said Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr.

He said the proposed budget with the theme, “Paggugol na Matuwid: Saligan sa Tuloy-Tuloy na Pag-Unlad,” is anchored on these principles:

• Spending within our means;

• Investing in the right priorities;

• Delivering measurable results;

• Empowering citizens through fiscal transparency, accountability and participation.

Coloma quoted Budget Secretary Florencio Abad as saying the spending priorities are in the following areas of the administration’s 2011-2016 development program: (1) Good Governance and Anti-Corruption; (2) Ensuring Inclusive Growth; (3) Sustaining the Growth Momentum;(4) Managing Disaster Risks; and (5) Forging Just and Lasting Peace.

The biggest chunk of the budget shall be allocated for the Department of Education (DepEd) with P436.5 billion, followed by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) with P401.14 billion, the Department of National Defense, P172 billion, the Department of Interior and Local Government, P156 billion, the Department of Health (DoH), P128.5 billion, and the Department of Social Welfare and Development, P107.6 billion. The combined budgets of the DepEd and the DPWH represent more than a quarter of the total 2016 National Budget.

The biggest increments in the annual budgets of agencies in the Executive Department were reflected in those of DPWH, a 32-percent spike; and DOH, 25.2 percent.

Such reflects efforts to boost public infrastructure development and support economic expansion as well as to improve health care services especially to the poor and most vulnerable sectors of society, the Palace explained.

President Aquino has directed all Cabinet members to intensify efforts at completing the delivery of programs, especially those on public infrastructure, including the rehabilitation of ‘Yolanda’-affected and other calamity areas, and on strengthening public institutions.The Aquino Cabinet tackled Monday its proposed budget for its final year, approving a P3-trillion outlay that it said would mostly go to sustaining key reforms and programs.

The Department of Budget and Management will submit the new proposed outlay to Congress right after the State of the Nation Address on July 27.

Like the 2015 budget, it is expected to draw intense scrutiny, being the last spending authorization before general elections in May 2016.

‘Optimism on jobs’ survey pleases PNoy

Meanwhile, Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said President Aquino drew the Cabinet’s attention also to the recent sidebar report in the June 15, 2015 edition of TIME Magazine Asia, showing the Philippines as having the highest number of citizens saying they were optimistic on finding jobs at 66 percent. The country was followed by the United States with 51 percent, India, 34 percent, Venezuela, 22 percent, Sudan, 18 percent and Italy, three percent.

Coloma said the report, which cited a Gallup poll covering 130 countries, asked citizens’ opinions on local job opportunities, mirrors a similar survey of the Social Weather Stations (SWS) in March 2015 which shows that the number of Filipinos expecting their personal quality of life to improve or net personal optimism at a “very high” of +37 percent – the highest since 1987. In the same survey, net optimism among Filipinos about the Philippine economy was recorded at a “high” of + 6 percent.

“The President, who is known for his keen observation of the latest economic trends, said these surveys firmly attest to the efficacy of the economic and social reforms of the administration that have resulted in a rapidly expanding job market and a decline in unemployment rate which was recorded at 6.6 percent as of January 2015,” added Coloma.

The President exhorted the Cabinet, in the remaining months of his administration, “to intensify the implementation of programs that would further bolster the foundations for sustainable and inclusive growth and progress for all Filipinos,” reported Coloma.

By: | Roices Naguit, News5

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