Malacanang eyeing P2.606-T budget for 2015

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Friday, July 11, 2014

THE Aquino administration will ask Congress to pass P2.606 trillion budget for 2015, Malacanang said Friday.

The National Expenditure Program Budget Proposal for next year is 15 percent higher than this year's budget of P2.265 trillion, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said after emerging from more than six-hour Cabinet meeting that President Benigno Aquino III presided over.

"After the meeting that lasted for more than six hours, the President directed the Cabinet to further fine-tune the budget assumptions and planning parameters so that these may be fully explained and justified at the hearings to be conducted by the Congress," he said.

Embattled Budget Secretary Florencio Abad presented the proposed budget for next year during the meeting.

Social protection, job generation and economic expansion, climate change adaptation and mitigation, and enabling environment for inclusive development are the key expenditures for next year's proposed budget, Coloma said.

For social protection, the government is eyeing to increase the allocation for the conditional cash transfer (CCT) program from present P62.6 billion to P78 billion. The proposed budget for CCT next year will cover 5 million households as per national household targeting system from current 4.3 million households.

The budget for the National Health Insurance Program will also be raised from P35.3 billion this year to P37.2 billion covering 15.4 million households from present 14.7 million households.

The government will also increase the fund for the provision of basic educational facilities, such as classrooms, water and sanitation, from this year's P44.6 billion to P52.7 billion next year.

An allocation of P186.6 billion was also being considered for national roads and bridges program of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) from this year's P130.4 billion.

For tourism infrastructure development, the allocation will be increased from P14.7 billion to P20 billion as the government is targeting 8.2 million international tourists to visit the country next year from this year's 6.8 million.

The government is also planning to allocate P38.6 billion next year for flood control and drainage projects of the DPWH.

"Another meeting may be convened before the National Expenditure Program Budget Proposal is approved and finalized. This will be submitted to Congress after the President’s State of the Nation Address (Sona)," Coloma said.

Aquino's Sona will be held on July 28 when the second regular session of the 16th Congress opens. (SDR/Sunnex)

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