ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Duterte signs P3.767-trillion budget for 2018
President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday signed into law the P3.767-trillion national budget for 2018.
The General Appropriations Act (GAA) of 2018 is the second budget passed under the Duterte administration.
The 3.767 trillion budget for 2018 is the country’s biggest GAA to date. It is 12.4 percent higher than the 2017 national budget. It is 21.6 percent of the gross domestic product.
It is meant to fund the Duterte administration’s projects such as the Build Build Build infrastructure program and the free tertiary education measure, universal health care, free irrigation, and the maintenance of peace and order in the country.
"This will also fulfill my campaign promise of doubling the basic pay of our soldiers and police officers which will take effect on the very first day of 2018," the President said in his speech at the signing ceremony of the 2018 GAA and the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Act or Republic Act No. 10963.
"Two laws that I signed today are the fulfillment of my campaign promise to institute genuine fiscal reform that will be felt by every Filipino," he said.
"The implementation of these laws will serve as our national, initial step towards cutting the poverty rate at 14 percent and making the Philippines an upper middle class by 2022. Hindi kaya ito apurado?" he added.
The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) is getting the biggest share out of all the government agencies with P637.86 billion.
The approved budget of the DPWH is P11 billion higher than what was proposed by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).
The increase was despite the proposal of Senator Panfilo Lacson to slash the DPWH budget by P50 billion through the department’s road right-of-way projects.
The top agency with the second biggest allocation is the Department of Education (DepEd) with P553.31 billion.
Senator Loren Legarda, chair of the Senate finance committee, said the DepEd’s budget increased from the this year’s P543.18 billion. Included for next year’s DepEd budget is P16 billion for the construction of school buidlings, as well as the 1,000-peso increase for teachers’ chalk allowance.
The Department of the Interior and Local Government meanwhile will get P170.76 billion; Department of National Defense, P149.7 billion; Department of Social Welfare and Development, P141.81 billion; Department of Health, P107.3 billion; and other executive offices, P74.76 billion.
The Department of Transportation was allocated a budget of P66.34 billion, while state universities and colleges (SUCs) are getting P62.12 billion. The Department of Agriculture menawhile is getting P53.34 billion.
Funding for SUCs was increased by P40 billion with the implementation of the law granting free education in all SUCs, local universities and colleges, and technical-vocational institutions.
The Senate also added P10 million for capital outlay of each SUC, as well as P327 million to install free Wi-Fi in all SUCs.
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