Press Release
November 22, 2011

Senate approves 1.816 trillion budget for 2012

After holding marathon hearings last week, the Senate today approved on second and third reading the proposed P1.816-trillion budget for next year.

The budget was approved by all 18 Senators present, with only Senator Joker Arroyo dissenting.

"This is the first budget entirely passed under the Aquino administration and we expect it to be submitted to Malacañang as early as the first week of December, which is in keeping with the wishes of President Aquino." Senator Franklin Drilon, chair of the Senate Finance Committee, said.

This year's budget is higher by 10.4 percent over last year's budget, representing 16.5 percent of the county's Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Describing the proposed 2012 budget as a "results-focused budget that is decidedly biased for the poor," Drilon said the money measure was aimed at fulfilling the Aquino administration's priorities in promoting social services, supporting economic growth and reducing poverty.

The agencies that got the biggest share of the budget was the Department of Education with an allocation of P202.354-billion while the Department of Public Works and Highways got a budget of P109.633-billion.

The Department of National Defense was allocated a budget of P106.880-billion while the Department of Interior and Local Government got an allocation of P92.794-billion and the Department of Agriculture got an allotment of P53.243-billion.

The Office of the President will be given an allotment of P2.595-billion while P8.961-billion was allotted for Congress. The judiciary will get a budget of P15.075-billion.

According to Drilon, the proposed money measure would support a rapid, inclusive and sustained economic growth by increasing allocations for infrastructure services such as irrigation systems and farm-to-market roads "that will spur agribusiness and the roads to tourism destinations."

He added that critical investments were also placed for activities that would secure peace and order, attain environment sustainability, enable growth and better opportunities in conflict-torn areas, promote disaster preparedness and preserve natural resources.

Under the measure, the Senate introduced minor amendments earlier approved by the House of Representatives, among which included the transfer of a P1.764-billion fund for the Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (Pamana) program to a single fund that will be implemented by the Department of Local Government, Department of Social Welfare and Development, and the Department of Agrarian Reform for easier monitoring.

The Senate also brought back some P811-million the House of Representatives removed from the budget for irrigation projects and also realigned P750-million from the Department of Interior and Local Government to the Local Water Utilities Administration for potable water projects.

Drilon said the Senate was committed to support the Aquino administration's program of achieving self-sufficiency in rice by 2013. Thus, he added, the Senate restored the P 811 million in irrigation projects which was cut and deleted by the House of Representatives under the budget of the Department of Agriculture.

The Senate also addressed one of President Aquino's priorities, which is to fund environment projects targeted to address climate change issues. Drilon said the 2012 budget would support President Aquino's call to fund climate change adaptation and mitigation activities and approved the allotment of P36.2-billion, or 18.2 percent more than the 2011 allocation.

Drilon said the House and Senate have agreed to convene the bicameral conference committee this week. According to its legislative calendar, Congress is scheduled to have a Christmas break after Dec. 16, a Friday, although its last plenary session day has been scheduled for Dec. 14.

The Senate plenary debates on the budget bill started on Tuesday after Congress resumed session following a month-long break. The House of Representatives approved the measure on third and final reading on Oct. 12.

According to an earlier schedule, meetings of the conference committee to craft a compromise version will start on Nov. 23. Ratification has been scheduled for Dec. 5-6. President Benign Aquino III is expected to sign the General Appropriations Bill into law on Dec. 15. This will be the second year that the budget will be enacted into law in time for the coming fiscal year.

News Latest News Feed