MANILA— The House of Representatives on Monday started its plenary deliberations on the proposed PHP3.767-trillion national budget for 2018.
In his sponsorship speech of House Bill No. 6215 or the 2018 General Appropriations Bill, House appropriations committee chair Karlo Nograles stressed that the proposed 2018 budget is a “budget that reforms and transforms”.
Nograles said next year’s budget will finance the most urgent priority programs that reduce inequality, strengthen the foundation for sustainable development, increase the country’s growth potential, and enhance governance.
“Pinaigting pa natin ang pagkilos mula sa isang masinsinang transisyon na ginaganap ngayong taong 2017, tungo sa maningning na transpormasyon sa taong 2018 — kung saan ang dalawang badyet na ito ay bumbuo ng isang walang-patid na guhit tungo sa pagpapaganap ng pangarap ng administrasyong ito para sa isang tunay na pagbabago (We have redoubled our efforts from this heightened transition we are now experiencing towards a brighter transformation in 2018 — these two budgets will pave the way for an uninterrupted means to accomplish ‘real change’ as envisioned by this administration),” Nograles said.
The proposed budget for next year is 12.4 percent higher than the PHP3.35 trillion budget for 2017 and represents 21.6 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP).
Nograles said they will strive to finish the plenary debates on Friday and have HB No.6215 passed on third and final reading.
It is expected to be signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte on or before November 15.
Among the agencies lined up for plenary defense Monday are the proposed budgets of the Department of Budget and Management, which will be defended by Nograles; Department of Finance, by Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Raymund Villafuerte; National Economic and Development Authority, by Albay Rep. Joey Salceda; Department of Tourism, by Rizal Rep. Michael John Duavit and Department of Labor and Employment, by Isabela Rep. Ana Cristina Go.
The education sector will get the biggest chunk of the budget with a funding of PHP691.1 billion, higher by PHP41.7 billion compared to 2017.
Nograles also noted that next year’s budget will provide the foundation for sustainable development through funding a massive infrastructure program complemented by reforms in programs for peace, security and ecological integrity.
“Over the medium-term, the Duterte administration will need to raise substantial funding for its Build, Build, Build Program,” he said, noting that this amounts to PHP1.097 trillion which is 27.9 percent higher than the 2017 allocation of PHP858.1 billion.
The other agencies with the highest budgetary allocations are: Department of Public Works and Highways,PHP643.3 billion; Department of Interior and Local Government, PHP172.3 billion; Department of Health, PHP164.3 billion; Department of National Defense, PHP145 billion; Department of Social Welfare and Development, PHP138 billion; Department of Transportation, PHP73.8 billion; Department of Agriculture, PHP54.2 billion; Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, PHP33.5 billion; and Department of Environment and Natural Resources, PHP27.9 billion.