Press Release
December 5, 2012

Senate ratifies P2.006T budget

The Senate on Wednesday ratified the bicameral conference committee report on the proposed P2.006-trillion national budget for 2013. Sen. Franklin Drilon, chair of the Senate Finance Committee said the described the budget--10.5 percent higher than this year's P1.816 trillion--as a tool for empowerment.

"This year's budget is expected to provide much needed funds aimed at improving government's infrastructure projects, thereby enhancing public services and providing more jobs, better healthcare services, and education," Drilon said.

Headed by Drilon, the Senate panel in the bicameral conference committee included Senators Ralph G. Recto, Teofisto "TG" Guingona III, Panfilo Lacson, Alan Peter Cayetano and Antonio Trillanes IV.

According to Drilon, the budget of P2.006T for 2013 remains intact, with the only difference being the P100 million priority development assistance fund (PDAF) of Senator Panfilo Lacson, whose term of office ends on 2013.

Drilon also mentioned the top ten departments which received the bulk of the budget, namely:

Department of Education which would have a budget of P293.32 billion from this year's P238.8 billion;

Department of Public Works and Highways from P126.4 billion, to P152.4 billion;

Department of National Defense, from P108.1 billion to P121.6 billion;

Department of Interior and Local Government, including the PNP, from P99.8 billion in 2012 to P121.12 billion;

Department of Agriculture from P61.4 billion to P74.1 billion;

Department of Health, from P45.8 billion to P56.8 billion;

Department of Social Welfare and Development, from P48.8 billion to P56.2 billion;

Department of Transportation and Communications from P34.7 billion to P37.1 billion;

Department of Finance, P23.6 billion to P33.2 billion; and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, from P17.5 billion to P23.7 billion.

According to Drilon, the DOH budget does not include the earmarking that the sin taxes will provide.

"We estimate that it should at least be P23 billion; if not more, in addition to what is provided in the 2013 budget," Drilon said.

"The disagreeing provisions were minimal at best," Drilon also said. "House Speaker Sonny Belmonte and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile will be receiving copies of the appropriations bill in the next few days, and we are confident that President Noynoy Aquino will be able to sign the measure into law before the end of the year."

"This will be the third year that the budget will be enacted into law in time for the coming fiscal year," Drilon added. (YVONNE ALMIRAÑEZ, PRIB)

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