Rizal Hall, Malacañan Palace
December 22, 2016
“The General Appropriations Act (GAA) of 2017 is the embodiment of the Filipinos’ clamor for real change,” said President Rodrigo Roa Duterte during the ceremonial signing of the GAA for Fiscal Year 2017 or Republic Act No. 10924, at the Rizal Hall in Malacañan Palace.
The GAA 2017 or People’s Budget 2017, which totaled to PhP 3.35 trillion, is higher by 11.6 percent than the budget for the previous fiscal year, with the bulk of budget committed to government services that cater directly to the Filipino people such as the PhP 544.1 billion budget for the Department of Education (DepEd), PhP 96.3 billion for the Department of Health (DOH) and PhP 128.3 billion for the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
In addition, state universities and colleges will receive PhP 58.72 billion to give more Filipinos access to tertiary education, while the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) will receive a budget of PhP 53.22 billion to address the need for a universal healthcare program in the Philippines.
On a different note, local government units will be empowered to serve more projects to their constituents through a PhP 486.9 trillion Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) budget and will be provided with additional transfers such as the Local Government Support Fund.
To improve peace and order in the country, the People’s Budget allocated a PhP 148 billion budget for the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) that will serve as the foundation for the country’s efforts against illegal drugs, construction of new jail and rehabilitation facilities, and the necessary increase of prisoner allowances. The Department of National Defense (DND), meanwhile, will receive PhP 137.2 billion budget for territorial defense, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Modernization Program and other security and stability services.
In an effort to support the country’s economic vigor through building public infrastructures, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) will receive a PhP 254.7 billion budget and the Department of Transportation (DoTr) with PhP 53.3 billion.
And to further support the country’s economy and to help Filipino farmers, the Department of Agriculture (DA) will receive PhP 45.2 billion, while the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) will have PhP 9.8 billion. In addition, irrigation will be subsidized by the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) through a budget of PhP 38.4 billion. 1.3 million subsistence farmers and fishermen will also be granted with crop insurance to minimize damages from natural calamities aside from the administration’s programs for climate change adaptation, improvement of harvest productivity and construction of farm to market roads to improve the lives of Filipino farmers.
The President was accompanied in the event by Budget (DBM) Secretary Benjamin Diokno and the rest of the Cabinet members, Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, other high ranking government officials and members of the diplomatic corps.
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