The P4.1-trillion national budget for 2020 was signed into law on January 6. Republic Act 11465 (The General Appropriations Act) is meant to see the continuation of government programs and projects by releasing the funds they need. Subject, of course, to the approval of congress.
According to CNN.com, the P4.1 trillion budget is the country’s largest to date. It’s a 12-percent increase from last year’s approved budget of P3.76 trillion.
What is the national budget?
A national budget, or government budget, is basically a document that presents the anticipated revenues of a government and how they propose to spend these revenues during a given time period—in this case, for the year 2020.
Government revenues mostly come in the form of taxes, so basically, the budget tells us how the government plans to spend the money they’ve collected from us. Ideally, these are supposed to go to projects and programs that benefit us.
Which government agency gets the biggest budget?
When it comes to budget per government department, here are the figures from the official release of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).
- Department of Education (including the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) – P692.6 billion
- Department of Public Works And Highways (DPWH) – P581.7 billion
- Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) – P241.6 billion
- Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) – P200.5 billion
- Department of National Defense (DND)– P192.1 billion
- Department of Health (DOH) – P175.9 billion
- Department of Transportation (DOTr) – P100.6 billion
- Department of Agriculture (DA) – P64.7 billion
It’s often considered that the department that gets allocated the most amount of money is the one with the projects the government prioritizes. Last year, education was given the biggest budget as an effort to improve the “human capital” of the country.
Human capital was thought to be the younger population of the Philippines who were to be supported, via education, in order to develop their capabilities to sustain the country’s future growth. That still seems to be a priority as is infrastructure.
The DND and DSWD have switched places. Last year, the DND was the fourth richest department and the DSWD the fifth. The rest of this list is holding steady.
So where exactly will the money be going?
Most of the budget, around P1.495 trillion, is supposed to go to social services or human capital development. Programs to be funded include:
1. The Universal Access To Quality Tertiary Education Act (P39 billion)
This law, signed in March 2018, is more commonly known as the Free Tuition Law. It subsidizes the college education of qualified Filipinos in as many as 112 state universities and colleges and 78 local universities and colleges.
2. Basic Educational Facilities Fund (P36 billion)
An annual budget given to the Department of Education to be used to improve and maintain school facilities.
3. The Universal Health Care Program (P108.8 billion)
Signed into law last February 2019, this is meant to provide each and every Filipino with healthcare coverage. You can find out more about how this will benefit you and your loved ones in our article here.
4. Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program(P108.8 billion)
A program that offers conditional cash grants to “the poorest of the poor”. This program gives out cash grants to households for health and education.
5. Unconditional Cash Transfer (P36.5 billion)
A program of the DSWD under the TRAIN law. This provides monthly cash assistance to indigent Filipinos.
Another P1.2 trillion has been set aside to support economic services. This is what the DPWH and the DOTr can use for their infrastructure development and improvement projects.
The DPWH is set to use P203.8 billion of the above amount for network development, asset preservation, and also bridge programs. Meanwhile, DOTr will have P63.5 billion budget to develop infrastructure for the air, rail, and sea transportation sector.
The DND and Philippine National Police (PNP) have been allocated P192.1 and P187.3 billion, respectively, for peace and order programs.
Under the DA, the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund has been allocated P10 billion, while there is also P3 billion for the Financial Subsidy to Rice Farmers.
There will also be P70.6 billion allotted for operational and developmental projects for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Mindanao.