Aquino signs P2.265-trillion 2014 budget
December 21, 2013
Manila, Philippines – President Benigno S. Aquino III yesterday signed the P2.265-trillion General Appropriations Act (GAA) for 2014, the fourth time that the national budget was signed on time under the Aquino administration.
Also called Republic Act (RA) No. 10663, the 2014 national budget is 13 percent or P258.7 billion higher than this year’s national budget.
The 2014 national budget is also the country’s first Performance-Informed Budget, a landmark reform initiative that ties an agency’s overall budget to specific standards of performance and service delivery.
“The performance targets that each agency must meet, using their budgets, are clearly outlined in the General Appropriations Act. This is our way of ensuring the accountability of agencies and departments to the Filipino people” President Aquino said.
“I encourage the public to examine the performance targets of agencies and to be one with us in monitoring the performance of their duties,” he said.
Senate President Franklin Drilon welcomed the speedy signing of the national budget.
Drilon, a Liberal Party (LP) ally of the President, said the budget’s approval “should translate to the timely activation of urgently needed services, particularly the rehabilitation of calamity-stricken areas.”
House Speaker Feliciano “Sonny” Belmonte Jr. had earlier underscored that the 2014 budget would be the fourth government spending plan under the Aquino administration that would be enacted on time.
• R841.8B For Social Services
Social Services continue to have the biggest allocation of the national budget at 37.2 percent or P841.8-billion.
Social services include the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program, which will have P62.6 billion for 2014, including the allocation of P12.3 billion for 10.2 million youth aged 15 to 18 years old in a bid to help them finish high school and have a decent livelihood.
The CCT likewise includes P2 billion for the government’s assistance to 7,000 homeless families and 116,000 indigenous families.
Budget for Social Services also include P44.6 billion or the construction and repair of classrooms; and P35.3-billion for the National Health Insurance System.
• R593.1B For Economic Services
Economic Services will receive 26.2 percent of the budget cut or P593.1 billion for 2014. This includes a P94.3-billion allocation for paving national roads; P10.7 billion for technical support services to benefit Filipino farmers; and P5.5 billion for tourism promotion.
• R377.6B For Debt Burden Services
The government has also allocated 16.7 percent or P377.6 billion for Debt Burden Services and General Public Services at 16 percent or P362.6 billion. Defense services got four percent amounting to P89.5 billion.
• R13B For Disaster Readiness
The government has allocated P13-billion for disaster preparedness and post-disaster rehabilitation under the Calamity Fund, now dubbed the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Fund. This amount is 73 percent higher than this year’s P7.5 billion.
• R20B For Rehab, Reconstruction
A total of P20 billion, meanwhile, will be allocated to the Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Program, while P80 billion will be for reconstruction projects under the Unprogrammed Fund.
Following the signing of the 2014 national budget, President Aquino said those who attempted to sow doubt among the minds of the people have been proven wrong, noting that each trial that the country faced this year has been turned into an opportunity.
“Even our cooperation with Congress was tested due to issues and scandals, such as the pork barrel scam, which were rooted in the abuses of the corrupt few who bent the rules and attempted to enrich themselves by means of loopholes in the system,” Aquino said.
“Our gathering today is a reflection of the strengthening of our foundations for good governance… We cannot overstate the commitment and skill shown by this Congress. This is the fourth straight year we have approved the national budget on time,” he said.
“Now, not only will we be able to undertake priority projects immediately; we are also closing loopholes that can lead to the abuse of power and to the abuse of our national coffers,” he added.
Among those present in the signing of the 2014 national budget include Vice President Jejomar Binay; Senate President Franklin Drilon; Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr.; Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, Jr.; Budget Secretary Florencio Abad; Senators Francis Escudero, Juan Edgardo Angara, Cynthia Villar; Deputy Speaker Henedina Abad; and Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II. (With a report from Ellson A. Quismorio)