Monday, August 5, 2019


There was a time, a few decades ago, when it was perceived that the national budget of the Philippines for a year reaching hundreds of billions of pesos was a big budget indeed. Then there was a time only a few years back when the same perception could be said of a national budget reaching a trillion pesos or two. But as time goes on the expected expenses not only multiply, they cost more too. Long story short, the 2020 Philippine budget proposal has been considered and stamped by the President, and looking at the final figure can be eye-boggling.

CNN Philippines reports that indeed, President Rodrigo Duterte gave his approval alongside the Cabinet on the national budget for next year, following a meeting with the Cabinet secretaries held on Monday, August 5. According to Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo, the proposed 2020 budget is to the tune of P4.1 trillion, continuing the expected trend of an ever-rising budget amount with the passing of years. To digest this point, the 2019 national budget that was only ratified this May and being used right now is only at P3.66 trillion, making its potential successor bigger by 12%. The current budget was delayed in implementation by legislators calling out certain allocation realignments post-ratification.

In an in-depth look, the top share of next year’s national budget allocations are for infrastructure development, in line with the President’s “Build, Build, Build” approach to revitalizing the economy through transport networks and the like. Speaking of which, transportation gets a significant share as well, along with public health, education, and implementation of key programs, such as the Bangsamoro Organic Law to completely organize the BARMM government, and the new Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD), which came into being this February.

According to Sal Panelo, the priorities of the 2020 national budget proposal are to hopefully eliminate certain shortages that Filipinos have been putting up with for decades: lack basic necessities, basic services, economic infrastructure, government accountability for use of allocations, and education among many others. He too points out the importance of these sectors in the budget allotment saying, “We assure everyone that our people's money, with education receiving the biggest slice of the budget, followed by public works, transportation, and health, will be spent wisely to reach a state of vibrant economy that will be felt by the citizenry.”

With the P4.1 trillion budget proposal approved, it now goes to Congress where both houses will scrutinize the allotments and pass their respective budget bills for reconciliation and deliverance for the President’s signature. The House of Representatives has marked October as their deadline for a budget bill while the Senate has announced theirs for December. Ideally they hope to have President Duterte sign the finalized 2020 budget by December 31.

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