Philippine president signs $63b 2016 National Budget

Updated: 2015-12-22 17:05


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MANILA - Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino III signed Tuesday the 3.002 trillion pesos ($63 billion) budget for next year in a ceremony in Malacanang, the presidential palace.

Republic Act No. 10717 or the General Appropriations Act of 2016 was the biggest budget in Philippine history and 15.2 percent higher than the 2.606 trillion pesos ($55 billion) budget in 2015.

Aquino thanked Congress for passing the budget on time for the six straight years.

He said the budget for infrastructure next year would be 5 percent of the country's gross domestic product.

Of the total budget, the largest portion would go to social services, with 1.106 trillion pesos or 36.8 percent, followed by economic services covering areas such as infrastructure, agriculture, transport and communications, accounting for 829.6 billion pesos or 27.6 percent.

General public services will take in 517.9 billion pesos or 17.3 percent, while defense and security will receive 129.1 billion pesos which stands as the lowest allocation among sectors at 4.3 percent. Meanwhile, 14 percent of the budget will go to debt interest payment.

Among the agencies, the Department of Education has the biggest budget at almost 437 billion pesos. The rest of the top 10 departments with highest allocations are: public works and highways, 400.4 billion pesos; national defense, 175.2 billion pesos; interior and local government 154.5 billion pesos; health, 128.5 billion pesos; social welfare and development 111 billion pesos; agriculture, 94 billion pesos; transportation and communications, 48.5 billion pesos; finance 33.2 billion pesos; and environment and natural resources 24.8 billion pesos.