Martin Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Usec. Janet Abuel (4th left) hands over a copy of the National Expenditure Program (NEP) amounting to P5.024 trillion to House Speaker Lord Alan Velasco (6th right) during the turnover ceremony at the Social Hall of the House of Representatives. With them are (from right) Deputy Speaker Kristine Singson-Meehan, Rep. Jose Christopher Belmonte, Deputy Speaker Bernadette Herrera, Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez, Rep. Eileen Ermita-Buhain, DBM Usec. Kim Robert De Leon, DBM Spokesperson Rolando Toledo and Rep. Franz “Chikoy” Alvarez. Photo by VER NOVENO

Romualdez: Budget to help Pinoys fully recover

August 23, 2021 Ryan Ponce Pacpaco 271 views

From COVID-19 pandemic

HOUSE Majority Leader and Leyte 1st District Rep. Martin G. Romualdez on Monday said the P252.4 billion premium on the health sector under the P5.024 trillion national budget for next year will help the government’s goal of attaining its gradual transition to full recovery from the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

“This, I believe, will help our common efforts to sustain our COVID-19 response efforts while supporting the gradual transition to full recovery,” said Romualdez, chairman of the House committee on rules, said after he joined Speaker Lord Allan Velasco Monday in receiving the 2022 National Expenditure Program (NEP) from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

“Given this track, I share the optimism that the P5.024-trillion proposed budget for 2022 will pave the way to gain back the health and strength of our people as well as the vigor of our economy,” Romualdez, president of the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (CMD), stressed.

“It is a wise policy to craft an expenditure program that puts premium on the health sector, which has allocated a proposed budget of P252.4 billion next year. What I find reassuring is the allocation of P30 billion for the purchase of drugs, medicines, vaccines, and medical and dental supplies for distribution to government health care facilities. Eighty percent of this total amount was earmarked for distribution to disease-stricken provinces,” Romualdez, a lawyer from the University of the Philippines (UP) and president of the Philippine Constitution Association (Philconsa), pointed out.

Budget Undersecretary Janet Abuel submitted the 2022 NEP to Velasco and Romualdez during the turnover ceremony at the Social Hall of the House of Representatives.

Also present in the event were Deputy Speaker and Ilocos Sur Rep. Kristine Singson-Meehan, House Deputy Minority Leader and Quezon City Rep. Jose Christopher “Kit” Belmonte, Deputy Speaker and Bagong Henerasyon (BH) party-list Rep. Bernadette Herrera, Batangas Rep. Eileen Ermita-Buhain who represented House committee on appropriations and ACT-CIS party-list Rep. Eric Yap, Budget Usec. Kim Robert De Leon, Budget Usec. and Spokesperson Rolando Toledo and Palawan Rep. Franz “Chikoy” Alvarez.

“I fully support the decision of President Rodrigo Duterte to mainstream health in every aspect of our budget priorities as contained in the 2022 National Expenditure Program which was submitted to Congress today (Monday),” Romualdez said.

To boost manpower for people’s health requirement, Romualdez cited the P17 billion allocation to hire 26,035 health professionals for deployment to public and private hospitals in underserved areas were they are most needed.

Another P3.8 billion will fund the emergency hiring of 6,810 COVID-19 Human Resources for Health (HRH), Romualdez said.

“I also support the allocation of adequate funds to ensure the establishment and operation of the Virology Science and Technology Institute of the Philippines, which shall enhance the capacity of our country’s health system for knowledge and technology generation, acquisition and adoption,” Romualdez said.

Aside from taking care of our people’s health requirement, Romualdez said the 2022 NEP makes sure that P475.9 billion are allocated for social protection and P803 billion for the education sector to support job and income security.

“This, I believe, will help our common efforts to sustain our COVID-19 response efforts while supporting the gradual transition to full recovery. Now that Congress has formally received the 2022 NEP, it is now the duty of your Representatives to review the proposed budget to ensure that the people’s taxes will be spent fairly and equitably among regions. Rest assured that during the congressional review, our people’s interest in these challenging times will be our primordial concern,” Romualdez added.

SPEAKER VELASCO VOWS SWIFT PASSAGE OF NEP

“Today (Monday), we gladly received from President Rodrigo Roa Duterte—through the Department of Budget and Management—the National Expenditure Program that would assist the legislature in the review and deliberation of the proposed national budget for fiscal year 2022,” Velasco said.

“This officially signals the start of the budget season in Congress or the legislative process of evaluation, debate and amendment which we hope could lead to the timely and decisive passage of the 2022 Genera Appropriations Act,” Velasco said.

“We, in the House of Representatives, are all set to carry out our constitutional duty of carefully scrutinizing the P5.024-trillion national budget, which includes an allocation of at least P240.75 billion for COVID-19 response.

As the coronavirus pandemic drags on and with no end in sight, it is incumbent upon Congress to swiftly pass a national budget that will not only serve as an instrument for development, but also as a powerful tool to decisively defeat COVID-19 and rebuild people’s lives and livelihoods,” Velasco added.

DUTERTE’S LEGACY OF REAL CHANGE

With the theme, “Sustaining the Legacy of Real Change for Future Generations”, the P5.024 trillion NEP is equivalent to 22.8 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and is higher by 11.5 percent than this year’s national budget.

The bulk of the budget, in the amount of P1.456 trillion or 29.0 percent of the FY 2022 NEP, will go to Personnel Services expenditures to cover the hiring of healthcare workers and teaching personnel, the implementation of the third tranche of the Salary Standardization Law V, and the requirements of the 2018 Military and Uniformed Personnel pension arrears, among others.

Capital Outlays are pegged at P939.8 billion while Maintenance and Other Operating Expenditures will reach P777.9 billion next year.

Debt burden amounts to P541.3 billion, which corners 10.8 percent of the FY 2022 NEP and is lower by 3.4 percent year-on-year.

The support to Government-Owned and-Controlled Corporations, composed of National Government subsidies and equity, sums up to P178.0 billion while Tax Expenditures remain the same with this year’s level at P14.5 billion.

Finally, the allocation to Local Government Units (LGUs) will amount to P1.116 trillion.

This includes the P959.0 billion National Tax Allotment share of LGUs, consistent with the Supreme Court ruling on the Mandanas-Garcia case.

BY SECTOR

This will fund health-related services such as the continued implementation of the Universal Health Care Act, purchase of COVID-19 vaccines, procurement of personal protective equipment, and others. Education-related programs, including the implementation of the Universal Access to

Quality Tertiary Education will also be prioritized. The Social Services sector will continue to receive the biggest chunk of the FY 2022 NEP with P1.922 trillion, which is higher by 15.2 percent compared to this year’s national budget.

This is followed by the Economic Services sector, which will receive P1.474 trillion or 29.3 percent of the proposed budget.

This inched up by 11.4 percent compared to the FY 2021 budget and will largely support flagship programs under the Build Build Build Program.

The General Public Services sector is allocated with P862.7 billion (17.2%), the Debt Burden with P541.3 billion (10.8%), and the Defense sector with P224.4 billion (4.5%).

TOP TEN DEPARTMENTS

This is followed by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) with P686.1 billion, Department of the Interior and Local Government with P250.4 billion, Department of Health and the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation with P242.0 billion, Department of National Defense with P222.0 billion, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) with P191.4 billion, Department of Transportation (DOTr) with P151.3 billion, Department of Agriculture (DA) and National Irrigation Authority (NIA) with P103.5 billion, The Judiciary with P45.0 billion, and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) with P44.9 billion.

SPENDING PRIORITIES

The education sector covering the Department of Education (DepEd), State Universities and Colleges and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), shall receive the highest allocation with P773.6 billion, higher by P21.9 billion or 2.9 percent compared to its share from the FY 2021 budget.

In total, the budget of the top ten departments amounts to P2.71 trillion and comprises 53.9 percent of the FY 2022 NEP.

The FY 2022 NEP was carefully crafted to provide the necessary funding requirements to support the country’s resilience against the COVID-19 pandemic, to sustain the trajectory of economic growth, and to continue the legacy of infrastructure development.

The government will continuously support the implementation of the National Health Insurance Program, with a budgetary support of P80.0 billion, to subsidize the health insurance premium of 13.2 million indigent families and 7.3 million Senior Citizens.

To combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the intensified roll out of the Prevention, Detection, Isolation, Treatment and Reintegration (PDITR) strategy will be prioritized through the procurement of 758,700 complete sets of personal protective equipment (P819 million) and 11 million GeneXpert cartridges (P5.1 billion).

Meanwhile, P17.0 billion will also be allotted for the continuous hiring and deployment of health service professionals through the Human Resources for Health Program.

On the other hand, to further strengthen the capacity of the healthcare sector and improve medical infrastructure, P19.6 billion is allocated for the construction and upgrading of health facilities and purchase of medical equipment and ambulances under the Health Facilities Enhancement Program.

Of this amount, P1.4 billion will be used to cover the requirements for newly established government hospitals while P106 million will be set aside to ensure the efficient health facility referral system of the One Hospital Command Center.

The government will also continuously invest in medical research and development (R&D) by allocating P1.3 billion to support the COVID-19 R&D efforts of the Department of Science and Technology.

This includes P983 million allotted for the establishment of the Virology Science and Technology Institute of the Philippines and P140.0 million for the conduct of biosurveillance and immune-biosurveillance of COVID-19 variants under the Philippine Genomic Information and Resource Hub.

Finally, about P45.4 billion is provided under the proposed FY 2022 Unprogrammed Appropriations to cover the COVID-19 booster shots of 93.798 million fully-vaccinated Filipinos.

SUSTAINING THE MOMENTUM TOWARDS RECOVERY

Recognizing the consequences brought by the imposition of community quarantine measures on the most vulnerable groups of the country, the National Government packaged the FY 2022 NEP to provide essential funding support to foster socioeconomic recovery.

Hence, to safeguard and support displaced workers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, P21.0 billion is allotted for the Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD) Program of the DoLE.

Meanwhile, budgetary support will also be provided under the Emergency Repatriation Program (P11.2 billion) and Reintegration Services Program (P52.7 million) to assist our repatriated OFWs.

Social protection programs of the DSWD such as the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (P115.7 billion), Protective Services for Individuals and Families in Difficult Circumstances (P18.0 billion) and Sustainable Livelihood Program (P4.9 billion) will also be supported to safeguard the poor and the vulnerable.

As for the education sector, P49.7 billion is allocated for the programs of the CHED and TESDA under the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act.

The government has also provided budgetary support for the DepEd’s banner programs, such as the Basic Education Learning Continuity Plan (P15.1 billion) to cover the development, reproduction, and delivery of 924 million learning modules, and the Computerization Program (P11.6 billion) to cover the procurement of 108,177 packages of ICT-related equipment.

The NIA’s irrigation services and DA’s National Rice Program shall also be allocated with P21.8 billion and P15.7 billion, respectively.

CONTINUING THE LEGACY OF INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT

The National Government aims to boost economic recovery and provide a modernized public transport system by continuously investing in the Build, Build, Build Program.

Of the FY 2022 NEP, P1.180 trillion is provided for the infrastructure budget.

This is equivalent to 5.3 percent of GDP and shall be allocated for the major programs of the DPWH and DOTr, such as the Network Development Program (P128.1 billion), Flood Management Program (P113.5 billion), Rail Transport (P110.9 billion) and Land Public Transportation Program (P13.9 billion).

Overall, the FY 2022 NEP is anchored on the priorities of the national government as enshrined in its collective long-term ambition of building a life that is matatag, maginhawa, at panatag for every individual. It is geared towards sustaining the legacy of the current Administration that will benefit the future generations of Filipinos.

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