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Aquino signs P3-trillion nat'l budget for 2016

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(Photo from GMA Network)

 

MANILA ― President Benigno S. Aquino on Tuesday signed into law the P3.002-trillion national budget for 2016, adding another record for the country for passing the General Appropriations Act (GAA) on time.

 

“Sa pagtutulungan ng Ehekutibo, at ng Kongreso, at ng iba’t iba pang institusyon, panibagong rekord na naman ang ating nakamit. Ito po ang ikaanim na sunod na taon na naipasa ang Budget ng Bayan sa tamang oras,” the President said during the signing of the 2016 GAA.


Aquino said passing the budget on time is important to enable the government to continuously provide services for more Filipinos and achieve inclusive growth.
 

Next year's budget is about 15 percent higher than this year's budget of P2.606 trillion.

 

He said next year's budget aims to promote inclusive growth by consulting the people through the so-called bottom-up budgeting program.

 

As mandated by the Constitution, the education department was given the highest budget with P436.5 billion.


The President stressed that the funding will enable the government address inherited backlogs in classrooms, books, school armchairs and teachers. 


“Bahagi nito ang pagpapatayo ng 47,553 classrooms, pagbili ng 103.2 million bagong textbooks, at pag-hire ng 79,691 positions para sa teaching and non-teaching personnel,” he added.

 

The conditional cash transfer program, the administration's flagship anti-poverty program, is receiving P62.7 billion next year. Aquino said this will ease the plight of 4.6 million household beneficiaries.

 

He noted that the CCT program has already lifted some 7.5 million Filipinos above the poverty line.

 

Aquino said 5 percent of the country's gross domestic product will be spent next year for infrastructure.

 

He said the Department of Public Works and Highways was allocated with P400.4 billion for the completion of national roads and flood control projects.

 

A P38.9 billion budget was also allocated for disaster risk reduction and management.

 

The budget will fund a 29 percent increase in infrastructure spending to help the economy sustain a 7-8 percent growth trajectory and fast track government spending.

 

Manila aims to increase infrastructure outlay to 5 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) next year, from a target of 4 percent in 2015.

 

The government is under pressure to accelerate spending to prevent the economy from losing momentum. The export-reliant economy grew an annual 6 percent in the third quarter but is likely to pick up pace in the fourth quarter, underpinned by public spending.

 

Aquino is also spending a record P25 billion ($528.3 million) next year to purchase frigates, surveillance planes and radars to improve its capacity to guard its maritime borders.

 

The larger spending on defense by the Philippines also comes as China nears completion of its man-made islands in the South China Sea, which has raised tensions in the region.

 

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