Senate approves 2013 national budget

Posted at 11/28/2012 10:07 PM | Updated as of 11/29/2012 8:26 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The P2.006-trillion national budget was approved on third and final reading by the Senate on Wednesday.

Fourteen senators voted in favor of the budget. Senator Joker Arroyo cast the lone negative vote, according Senate records.

The 2013 budget, which is 10.5% higher than the P1.816 trillion budget this year, will provide P698.4 billion for social services program, P510.9 billion for economic services and P333.9 billion for debt service, said Senator Franklin Drilon.

The Department of Education (DepEd) will get the largest share of the pie amounting to P292.7 billion, he added. The DepEd's 2013 budget will be 22.6% higher compared to the previous year.

"The budget is directed to provide funding for public services, which would provide more jobs, better education, improved healthcare services and empowerment of the Filipino people in nation building," Drilon said in a statement.

"The 2013 national budget, once signed into law, will provide for funds to finally close the resource gaps in education system such as the shortage of teachers and educational resources, as well as the lack of enough classrooms," he added.

Drilon, who is Senate finance committee chairman and main sponsor of the 2013 budget, said around 3.8 million poor families will benefit from the conditional cash transfer program that has been allotted P44.25 billion in 2013.

Around P12.6 billion has also been provided for the enrolment of 5.2 million poor families in PhilHealth.
 
The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) will have the second-highest budget allocation of P152.9 billion, followed by the Department of National Defense (DND) with P121.6 billion.
 
The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) will get P121.1 billion while the Department of Agriculture (DA) will be given P74.1 billion.
 
The Department of Health (DOH) will receive P56.8 billion, followed by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) with P56.2 billion, Department of Transportation and Communication with P37.1 billion, Department of Finance with P33.2 billion and Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) with P 23.7 billion.
 
The Office of the President will receive P2.7 billion, which is slightly higher than last year's P2.595 billion while P9.8 billion will be allotted for Congress. The Office of the Vice President will get P420.5 million. The Judiciary will receive P17.7 billion compared to P15.075 billion this year.

The Senate and lower House will reconcile their versions of the 2013 budget in the bicameral conference committee.
 
The target date for President Benigno Aquino to sign the budget is by the third week of December.