MANILA, Dec 19 (Mabuhay) – President Benigno S. Aquino III led the ceremonial signing of the P2.006-trillion 2013 General Appropriations Act (GAA) in ceremonies held in Malacanang on Wednesday.
Dubbed the Empowerment Budget, the 2013 GAA was signed into law by President Aquino at the Rizal Ceremonial Hall of Malacanang Palace.
The 2013 National Budget aims to give the Filipinos more opportunities for governance engagement by investing in strategic programs and projects that spotlight the citizens’ role as economic movers.
Next year’s national budget is P2.006 trillion, about 10.5 percent higher than this year’s budget of P1.816 trillion.
Of the 2013 budget, the lion’s share will still go to social services, most notably to the Department of Education (P232.6 billion), the Department of Social Welfare and Development (56.3 billion) and the Department of Health (P51.1 billion).
Meanwhile, the economic development will also be supported by next year’s budget for Capital outlay which rose to P325.5 billion and through the implementation of the infrastructure programs under the Department of Public Works and Highways which will receive P155.5 billion.
The 2013 GAA was crafted with the aim of investing significantly in the people’s capabilities by prioritizing funding for public services that provide jobs, educate our youth, ensure a healthier citizenry and empower each Filipino to participate in economic activity.
For his part, Budget and Management Secretary Florencio Abad said that expenditures next year are expected to sustain or even levels posted in 2012. He also stressed that the improved budget execution and project implementation may help drive further growth in the country next year.
“The 2013 GAA was crafted together with civil society groups and communities on-the-ground, who gave us tremendous insight on the ways through which we could reconcile our citizens’ needs with the government’s expenditure plan,” Abad said.
Also in attendance were Senator Franklin Drilon, Senator Edgardo Angara, House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa, Jr. Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, Deputy Speaker Pablo Garcia, Deputy Speaker Lorenzo Tañada, Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II, and 1st district, Negros Oriental Representative Jocelyn Limkaichong.
Other members of the Cabinet, House of Representatives and leaders from the business sectors, civil society partners for the Budget process also attended the event. (MNS)