Budget season in Congress has officially kicked off after the House of Representatives received from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) the proposed P5.024 trillion 2022 National Expenditure Program (NEP).
The government intends to spend more next year as the NEP for 2022 will be higher than this year’s, the DBM said.
Next year’s expenditure plan is higher by 11.5 percent than the 2021 budget and equivalent to 22.8 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), according to DBM.
DBM officials — Undersecretaries Janet Abuel, Rolando Toledo, and Kim Robert de Leon — personally handed to the leaders of the chamber the 2022 NEP, which will be the last full-year budget to be enacted under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.
House Committee on Appropriations chairperson Eric Yap disclosed that his panel will start deliberations on the budget on 26 August.
According to the agency, the NEP for 2022 amounts to P5.02 trillion, 11.5 percent higher than this year’s P4.50 trillion and will comprise about 22.8 percent of the country’s local output.
“Bulk of the budget, in the amount of P1.45 trillion or 29 percent of the 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,” the DBM explained.
Gross external borrowings amounted to P560.57 billion, lower than the P581.37 billion this year while gross local debt was expected to decline to P1.91 trillion from the posted P2.49 trillion in the same comparable period.
Less borrowings eyed
National Treasurer Rosalia de Leon said lower loans for next year was expected to reduce the country’s current deficit, which currently stands over 60 percent — the threshold carefully watched by international credit rating agencies.
Still, De Leon said that borrowing from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas remains on the table and whether it will be tapped or not will depend on how well the economy develops.
Government will continue to support the implementation of the National Health Insurance Program, with a budgetary support of P80 billion, to subsidize the health insurance premium of 13.2 million indigent families and 7.3 million senior citizens.
The government will likewise invest in medical research and development (R&D) with P1.3 billion to support the Covid-19 R&D efforts of the Department of Science and Technology.
Allocated funds for the eyed booster shots against Covid-19 was P45.4 billion, and was expected to benefit 93.79 million fully-vaccinated Filipinos, the agency said.
with Michelle R. Guillang