The Committee on Appropriations of the House of Representatives began last week hearings on the P3.002-trillion budget proposal of Malacanang for 2016, with the goal of seeking second reading approval for the measure by October 2015.
The hearings are scheduled from Monday to Thursday at the Andaya Hall until the third week of September.
"Hopefully, the plenary debates and voting on second reading on the national budget by [the] time (of the filing of the Certificates of Candidacy for the 2016 elections) are already finished," said Davao City Representative Isidro Ungab, the chairman of the appropriations panel.
"If there is a need to hold budget meetings on Fridays, then we will adjust the schedule," said Ungab.
The budget hearings kicked off last August 10 with the presentation by the Development Budget Coordinating Committee (DBCC), an interagency body chaired by Budget Secretary Florencio Abad. Director General Arsenio Balisacan of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) sits as co-chairman of the DBCC, with Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, Jr., Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima and Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Armando Tetangco, Jr. as members.
The proposed budget for 2016 is 15.2 percent higher than the P2.606 trillion national budget for the current year.
Based on allocation by department, the biggest budgets will go to the Department of Education, P377.7 billion; Department of Public Works and Highways, P304.1 billion; Department of National Defense, P154.1 billion; and the Department of the Interior and Local Government, P147.2 billion.
The Department of Health will get P102.6 billion; Department of Social Welfare and Development, P108.3 billion; Department of Agriculture, P90.2 billion; Department of Transportation and Communications, P59.4 billion; Department of Finance, P16.9 billion; Department of Environment and Natural Resources, P21.7 billion; and Department of Science and Technology, P18 billion.
Based on sector allocation, social services will get the lion’s share of the budget pie at P1.1059 trillion, which represents 36.8 percent of the proposed budget. It covers education, healthcare, housing and social welfare and employment.
Economic services will get second largest budget allocation with P829.6 billion, which is 27.64 percent of the proposed budget. These include transport and communications infrastructure.
General Public Services will get P517.9 billion, debt burden P419.3 billion, and interest payments P392.8 billion.