The final revised national budget for 2017 also known as the House Bill 3408 or the proposed General Appropriations Act (GAA) for 2017 amounting to P3.35 trillion was approved by the Senate-House of Representatives conference committee on Tuesday. The ratification by the Senate is set on Wednesday. Read on to learn more about it.

5 Fast Facts About The National Budget for 2017: 

 

1.  The national budget for 2017 is in line with the Duterte administration’s 10-point socioeconomic agenda.

“We ensured that it funds the necessary services needed by our citizens, such as universal health care, free tuition for all state universities and colleges [SUCs], and additional funds for social services,” Business Mirror reported Finance Committee Chairman, Sen. Loren Legarda said. Legarda added that lawmakers also agreed to allocate funds for free irrigation, additional funds for prisoners’ subsistence allowance, pension for post-World War II veterans and centenarians among others.

2. The national budget for 2017 is higher by 11.6 percent than the P3.002 trillion 2016 budget.

The national budget for 2017 represents 20.4 percent compared to  20.1 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in  2016. The total revenue in 2017 is expected to reach the amount of P2.48 trillion which is 10 percent more than the targeted collection in 2016. Moreover, GDP is seen to grow by 6.5 percent to 7.5 percent in 2017 through sustained expansion of the services and industry sectors and agriculture sector.

3. The national budget for 2017 provides additional P8 billion budget for the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).

The additional budget is intended for scholarship and capital outlay of state universities and colleges (SUCs). This is also to ensure that all college students enrolled in any SUCs in the country will not pay for their tuition.

In line with this is the increased allocation for the Department of Education (DepEd) projects for site development of public schools, teachers’ cash or chalk allowance from P1,500 to P2,500 to purchase classroom supplies, like chalk, erasers and forms.

4. The national budget for 2017 grants additional P3 billion to Philhealth allocation, the government health-care program.

Legarda explained that through this, all Filipinos will be covered by the universal health-care program and indigent patients will no longer need to pay for anything in government hospitals under the No Balance Billing policy.  Here's the list of the other approved additional budget.

Department of Health (DOH): There is an additional P1.521 billion for the Doctors to the Barrio program, construction of additional health facilities and medical assistance to indigent patients. Another P2.646 billion is allocated to put up DOH-Treatment and Rehabilitation Centers in regions without such facility.

Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD):  An additional P100 million will be granted to centenarians on top of the additional funding for the agency's supplemental feeding program. The 4.4 million beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) will have a rice allowance in the form of cash grants.

National Irrigation Administration (NIA): An additional P2 billion is allocated to subsidize irrigation fees to farmers.

Livelihood and Micro-enterprises: An additional P1 billion is allocated under the Small Business Corp. to provide loans at almost no interest to micro-enterprises.  

Department of Labor and Employment: Additional funds are provided for various programs including employment facilitation and capacity-building services.

Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA):  Approval of funds for the Training for Work Scholarship Program/Livelihood and Training Provision for Drug Dependents.

Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG): There are additional funds for training and equipment of firefighters, Philippine National Police’s (PNP) fight against illegal drugs, the subsistence allowance of prisoners and rehabilitation and construction of jail facilities.

Department of National Defense (DND): There is additional fund to effectively defend the country from internal and external threats. Additional funds are also allocated for repair of Veterans Center, expanded veterans hospitalization program and construction of cadet barracks. The allocations for combat and incentive pay of the military and police worth P12.1 billion and  Capability Enhancement Program of the PNP are approved.

Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR): Fund for the restoration of mangroves, which are effective buffers against storm surge and tsunami is added.

5. The national budget for 2017 was ratified despite the disagreements over Congress' allocation to Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) development projects.

House Committee on Appropriations Chairman Karlo Alexei Nograles said that they ratified the budget despite disagreements over an item originally allocated to DPWH's development projects in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). Some members of the Senate opposed that this could be in violation of the ARMM Organic Act. The Congress accepted the proposal of the Senate to allocate the budget amounting to P8.3 billion to CHED.

Meanwhile, Legarda said the national budget for 2017 will be submitted to President Duterte for signing into law after ratification.

What do you think of the national budget for 2017? Let us know in the comments section below.