MANILA (UPDATE) — Education and infrastructure are among the top priorities of the Marcos administration as it submitted its proposed 2023 national budget to the House of Representatives on Monday, the Department of Budget and Management said.
Budget Secretary Amenah Pangandaman personally turned over the proposed P5.268-trillion budget to House Speaker Martin Romualdez Monday morning, describing it as a “a proactive budget felt by the people with education, infrastructure, health, agriculture and social safety nets as priorities.”
Education and infrastructure programs have the biggest allotted amounts in next year's proposed budget, with the administration planning to spend more than P800 billion for education and P1.196 trillion for infrastructure development.
“Our budget for FY 2023 is proactive and resilient. It is designed to withstand future risks, challenges and shocks. Filipinos have bravely faced disasters and crises in recent years and notwithstanding the uncertainties, we have witnessed the strength of our economy and the resilience of our countrymen as seen by the country’s economic expansion,” she said.
As mandated by the Constitution, the education sector remains as the highest budgetary priority in 2023, with about P852.8 billion allocated for the Department of Education (DepEd), state universities and colleges (SUCs), Commission on Higher Education (CHED), and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).
From about P633.3 billion in 2022, DepEd's budget has been increased to P710.6 billion in 2023.
Meanwhile, the Marcos administration also plans to spend as much as P47.5 billion for free college tuition, and another P50 billion for technical and vocational training.
This, Pangandaman said, reflects the administration's thrust towards investing in education.
"This proves this administration’s commitment to invest in human capital development and youth empowerment," she said.
About P1.196 trillion will also be allotted to the country's infrastructure programs, as Marcos plans to continue to the "Build, Build, Build" program of his predecessor Rodrigo Duterte.
The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) will receive P718.4 billion, while the Department of Transportation (DOTr) will get P167.1 billion, a 120-percent increase from its P75-billion budget in 2022.
The increased amount, the DBM said, covers the augmented funding requirements for various foreign-assisted railway projects.
Major transportation infrastructure projects that will be implemented include the North-South Commuter Railway, the Metro Manila Subway Phase 1, the LRT-1 Cavite Extension, and the PNR South Long Haul.
In anticipation for possible health emergencies, President Marcos has also proposed to increase the health sector's budget by 10.4 percent to P296.3 billion in 2023.
The budget aims to cover improved vaccination efforts and COVID-19 boosters, among others.
Pangandaman said P29 billion of the budget will be used to purchase drugs, medicines, and vaccines, while more than P19 billion will be allocated for the salary and benefits of healthcare workers.
Another P23 billion will also be allotted for the Health Facilities Enhancement Program (HFEP), which will fund the purchase of medical equipment as well as the construction, rehabilitation and upgrading of barangay health stations, rural health units, government hospitals, and other health facilities in the country.
The health sector covers both the Department of Health (DOH) and the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth).
Agriculture spending will also be increased by almost 40 percent in 2023.
"The Agriculture sector will receive a substantial increase of 39.2 percent year-on-year, with a total proposed budget of P184.1 billion for the strengthening of its banner food programs and irrigation services to ensure food security and agricultural productivity." Pangandaman said.
"To achieve this, higher allocations are proposed for the National Rice Program (P30.5 billion) to help maintain the price of rice at affordable levels, and for the production of other vital agricultural commodities." she added.
Marcos, who also serves as the Agriculture secretary, had said that the sector will be given top priority to develop it into one of the main drivers for the country's economic growth and development.
The Marcos administration has also allotted budget amounts to the following agencies:
- - Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) - P197 billion
- - Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) - P26.2 billion
- - Department of National Defense (DND) - P240.7 billion
- - National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) - P31 billion
President Marcos has also proposed to allocate P453.1 billion for "climate change expenditures."
These expenditures will focus on food security, water sufficiency, ecosystem and environmental stability, human security, climate smart industries and services, knowledge and capacity development and sustainable energy, the DBM said.
To monitor these expenses, the DBM said it will partner with the Climate Change Commission to develop the Climate Change Expenditure Tagging (CCET) mechanism.
“Government hopes to fund these and ensure their proper delivery by pursuing the path of sound fiscal management and enhanced bureaucratic efficiency. I am confident that the 2023 budget will help us achieve our goals for economic transformation, growth, and sustainability,” Pangandaman said.
UP, PGH GET BUDGET CUTS
Meanwhile, the budget department has proposed a P2.5 billion budget cut for the entire University of the Philippines system.
Based on a copy of the National Expenditure Program for 2023 posted on the DBM website, the UP system gets a P21.85 billion budget, down from P24.39 billion in 2022 but marginally higher than the P21.50 billion in 2021.
Of the 2023 figure, P10.86 billion will go to the higher education program, P1.3 billion is for the advanced education program, P747.45 million for the research program, P396.74 million for the technical advisory extension program and P5.93 billion for hospital services.
The UP system runs the Philippine General Hospital. The UP system's Hospital Services Program had a budget of P6.3 billion in 2022.
There is no budget allocation for capital outlay for hospital services next year. Capital outlay refers to expenses incurred for the construction or acquisition of new facilities.
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