Press Release
November 26, 2015

Senate approves 'sustainable" 2016 budget;
education, infrastructure sectors get biggest share

The Senate today approved on third and final reading the P3.002 trillion proposed national budget for 2016, with 14 affirmative votes, one negative vote by Sen. Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III and zero abstention.

Senators who voted for the approval of the proposed 2016 national budget include Senate President Franklin M. Drilon, Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto, Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile, Deputy Minority Leader Vicente "Tito" Sotto III, and Senators Paolo Benigno "Bam" Aquino IV, Maria Lourdes Nancy Binay, Pia Cayetano, Joseph Victor "JV" Ejercito, Chiz Escudero, Teofisto "TG" Guingona III, Loren Legarda, Sergio Osmeña III, Grace Poe and Antonio "Sonny" Trillanes IV.

The Department of Education once again received the largest portion in the budget pie, with an allocation of P 411.89 billion, an increase of 28 percent or P90 billion from its P321 billion budget in 2015.

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) received the second largest share with P382.42 billion, followed by the Department of National Defense (DND) with P126.64 billion, Department of Health (DOH) with P124. 76 billion and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) with P124.26 billion.

Senator Loren Legarda, Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Finance, said the Senate version of the 2016 national budget "aims to proactively address the impacts of climate change and disasters on the country and promote inclusive and sustainable growth."

Senate President Franklin M. Drilon said that with the budget's approval in the Senate, lawmakers from both houses of Congress will devote their time next week for the bicameral conference committee meetings on the 2016 budget. He expressed confidence that the budget will be signed by President Benigno Aquino III before the year ends.

"We expect to submit the budget to the President by December 14. That's our target date so that the President will have a week to 10 days to review the budget and see whether he will exercise his line-item veto as he would traditionally," Drilon said.

Wider public education

Legarda said that as mandated by 1987 Constitution, the educational sector received the highest budget priority. "The DepEd's budget increased by 28 percent of its budget for 2015 because the implementation of the senior high school curriculum under the K-12 program begins next year," she said.

Legarda said the DepEd budget includes allocation for hiring of additional teachers and school feeding programs. It has also allocated P82.3 billion "for the construction of 47,553 classrooms and technical-vocational laboratories."

For the higher education sector, Legarda said that the Senate version for the proposed 2016 budget of the 113 universities and colleges (SUCs) across the country increased by P4.27 billion. The funds will be used for construction of structures, acquisition of equipment, scholarship grants, among others.

Social service funds

The Senate approved P107 billion budget for the Department of Social Welfare and Development, with P48 million allocated for the Council for the Welfare of Children, P44.62 million for the Inter-Country Adoption Board, P111 million for the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Council, P44.28 million for the National Council on Disability Affairs and P87.47 million for the National Youth Commission.

Legarda said that the Senate also supported the House's allocation of P4.77 billion for the payment of the total administrative disability (TAD) pension for surviving spouses of deceased World War II veterans, along with partial payments for TAD pension for living post-war veterans who are at least 80 years of age as of 2016.


Legarda said the government's total 2016 allocation for infrastructure projects, such as irrigation, road and transport networks and housing, had increased to P766.3 billion, and "hits the benchmark five percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP)."

Based on President Aquino's speech on the proposed 2016 budget, P268.4 billion of the infrastructure budget will go to the DPWH for the pavement of national roads and construction of access roads to airports, seaports, and tourist destinations. The executive branch proposed that the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) be given an allocation of P10.2 billion for the construction and improvement of airports and seaports, and P15.7 billion for the rehabilitation of railway systems. Amendments to military, Comelec budgets

The Senate also approved a P116.2 billion allocation for the DND, which is higher than the P115.8 billion budget approved by the House of Representatives for the defense department.

The Senate version of the DND budget includes an extra P250 million for the DND's quick response funds (QRF) and an additional P150 million allocation for the Philippine Army which will be used to enhance the army's intelligence funds, and funding for new machinery, equipment and construction of buildings and other structures.

The Senate also agreed to retain the additional P500 million in the Comelec budget relating to electronic results transmission management and services, which had been earlier thumbed down by the Senate finance panel. This was after an amendment by Drilon who requested "the reinstatement of the P500 million for the Comelec in order to speed up the transmission of the results of the 2016 elections."

What's next: Salary hike for state workers

Drilon said that the Senate will soon prioritize the proposed Salary Standardization Law IV (SSL IV), which will define the new and upgraded salary scale for each salary grade of all government employees to be implemented in a four-year period.

"We also want to pass the SSL IV within December so that in January it will be implemented with the funds coming from the authorization in the 2016 national budget," Drilon said, noting that in the 2016 budget, P57 billion have already been allocated for the proposed wage hike.

He said that if the SSL IV is passed along with the 2016 national budget, public employees can already expect their higher wages by January of next year.

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