The House of Representatives approved on Friday night (October 9, 2015) the proposed P3.002 trillion spending measure of the Aquino administration for 2016 before adjourning for a three-week break.
A total of 230 congressional representatives voted to approve House Bill 6132, the proposed national budget for 2016, successively on second and on third and final reading. Twenty congressmen opposed the measure.
HB 6132 was certified as urgent by President Benigno Aquino III, which allowed the House to rush the approval of the measure. Ordinarily, bills require a three-day break before they are approved for the next reading.
The national budget bill was approved without any major amendments, in keeping with the commitment of the House to have it enacted by yearend. But final requests for amendments would still be accepted by the House Appropriations Committee until October 14, Wednesday, before transmitting the bill to the Senate.
"Passing the budget on time speaks of the highest level of commitment that we have in responding effectively and efficiently to the needs of our people. We have deliberated comprehensively and debated extensively. The political climate makes it prone to grandstanding, but instead we chose to listen," said Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., who sits as chairman emeritus of the National Unity Party (NUP).
The government expects to raise P2.7 trillion in revenues next year, which is equivalent to 17.5% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The budget deficit is set at P308.7 billion or 2% of GDP.
Government forecasts of economic growth remaining stable at 7 to 8 percent next year, inflation at 2 to 4 percent, and the exchange rate at P43 to P46 per dollar were among the key factors considered in approving the 2016 budget.
The proposed 2016 budget is 15.2 percent or P396 billion more than the 2015 expenditure program. It corresponds to 19.5 percent of the GDP.
The funding sources for government operations and programs include: government revenues in the amount of P2.697 trillion to be collected in 2016. Of this, P2.543 trillion or 94.3 percent will be sourced from tax revenues. The remainder will come from non-tax revenues at P151.4 billion and privatization proceeds at P2 billion; collections of the Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) at P58.3 billion, fees and charges at P40 billion, the sale of government assets at P2 billion, and other non-tax revenues at P53.2 billion; borrowings of P674.8 billion in 2016, of which P308.7 billion will be used to finance the projected fiscal deficit, P347.7 billion to amortize maturing obligations, and P18.4 billion for the national government's cash buffer account.
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.