MANILA, Philippines - President Rodrigo Roa Duterte today signed into law the Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 General Appropriations Act (GAA), which appropriates PhP4.1 trillion for the operations of the national government.
Carrying the theme “Continuing the journey to a more peaceful and progressive Philippines”, the FY 2020 national budget will build upon the gains made over the first three and a half years of President Duterte’s Administration by continuing the thrust for genuine change, inclusive growth, and equitable development to build a better Philippines.
The PhP4.1 trillion budget, which is equivalent to 19.5 percent of projected gross domestic product, is the country’s largest to date, larger by 12 percent than the 2019 budget. It will sustain the critical infrastructure, human capital development, and peace and order initiatives of the Administration to support socio-economic growth.
Both chambers of Congress sustained the budgetary priorities of the President when they passed the 2020 national budget last December as shown by the sectoral breakdown of the budget.
The social services sector accounts for the largest bulk of the budget at PhP1.495 trillion, or 36.5 percent of the national budget, to fund human capital development programs in education, health, and social protection. Such programs include the Universal Access for Quality Tertiary Education (PhP39 billion), the Basic Education Facilities Program (PhP36 billion), the Universal Health Care Program (PhP172.4 billion), the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (PhP108.8 billion), and the Unconditional Cash Transfer Program (PhP36.5 billion).
Meanwhile, PhP1.2 trillion is allotted for economic services, which corresponds to 29.3 percent of the national budget. This is a hefty increase of 23.7 percent over the 2019 budget for the sector. For infrastructure development, in particular, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the Department of Transportation (DOTr) will receive significantly higher allotments in 2020 to accelerate the Administration’s infrastructure program, taking Php581.7 billion (25 percent growth) and Php100.6 billion (45 percent growth), respectively, for 2020. Of these amounts, the DPWH will use PhP203.8 billion for its Network Development Program, Asset Preservation Program, and Bridge Program, while the DOTr will use PhP63.5 billion to develop the country’s rail, air, and sea transportation infrastructure. These programs will enhance the state of physical infrastructure to facilitate the flow of goods, services, and people in all areas of the country.
The 2020 national budget also includes significant allocations to enhance peace and order in the country. The Department of National Defense (DND) will receive PhP192.1 billion, while the Philippine National Police (PNP) will receive PhP187.3 billion. Moreover, some PhP70.6 billion will be allocated for the operational and developmental needs of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
Consistent with the priorities of the Administration, the Department of Education, state universities and colleges, the Commission on Higher Education, and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority collectively will receive the largest portion of the 2020 budget to the tune of PhP692.6 billion. These are followed by the DPWH at PhP581.7 billion. The Department of the Interior and Local Government will receive PhP241.6 billion, of which 78 percent will go to the PNP. The Department of Social Welfare and Development will also receive an increase in its budget, taking PhP200.5 billion or 12.7 percent more year-on-year. The DND will take the fifth largest portion of the national budget at PhP192.1 billion. This is followed by the Department of Health with a budget of PhP175.9 billion, the DOTr with PhP100.6 billion, and the Department of Agriculture (DA) with PhP64.7 billion. The DA budget includes the PhP10 billion Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund and the PhP3 billion Financial Subsidy to Rice Farmers.
The passage of the FY 2020 General Appropriations Bill in Congress was led by House Committee on Appropriations Chairperson Representative Isidro T. Ungab and Senate Committee on Finance Chairperson Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” M. Angara.