BUDGET SEASON. Speaker Lord Allan Velasco, Majority Leader Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, and other leaders of the House of Representatives receive from officials of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) the P5.024-trillion National Expenditure Program for 2022 on Monday (Aug. 23, 2022). The NEP is the last budget proposal under the administration of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte. Also in photo are (from left) Committee on Legislative Franchises Chair Franz “Chikoy” Alvarez; DBM Undersecretaries Rolando Toledo, Kim Robert De Leon and Janet Abuel; Committee on Appropriations Senior Vice Chair Elenita Milagros Ermita-Buhain; Deputy Speakers Bernadette Herrera and Kristine Singson-Meehan; and Deputy Minority Leader Jose Christopher “Kit” Belmonte. (Photo Courtesy: House Press and Public Affairs Bureau)

MANILA – The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) on Monday submitted to Congress the proposed PHP5.024-trillion national budget for 2022.

Speaker Lord Allan Velasco, Majority Leader Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, and other leaders of the House of Representatives received the National Expenditure Program, the last budget proposal under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte, from DBM Undersecretaries Rolando Toledo, Kim Robert De Leon, and Janet Abuel.

Velasco said the submission of the budget proposal officially signals the start of the budget season in Congress or the legislative process of evaluation, debate, and amendment, which he hopes could lead to the "timely and decisive passage" of the 2022 General Appropriations Act.

"Today, 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.

Velasco said the House is all set to carry its constitutional duty of carefully scrutinizing the PHP5.024-trillion national budget, which includes an allocation of at least PHP240.75 billion for the coronavirus disease 2019 (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," he said.

The budget proposal is guided by a strategy supported by three main pillars, namely: Building Resilience amidst the Pandemic; Sustaining the Momentum towards Recovery; and Continuing the Legacy of Infrastructure Development.

The proposed budget for next year is 11.5 percent higher than this year's budget of PHP4.506 trillion.

The top 10 departments with the biggest allocations are the Department of Education with PHP773.6 billion budget; Department of Public Works and Highways, PHP686.1 billion; Department of the Interior and Local Government, PHP250.4 billion; Department of Health, PHP242 billion; Department of National Defense, PHP222 billion; Department of Social Welfare and Development, PHP191.4 billion; Department of Transportation, PHP151.3 billion; Department of Agriculture, PHP103.5 billion; The Judiciary, PHP45 billion; and Department of Labor and Employment, PHP44.9 billion.

About 38.3 percent or PHP1.922 trillion of the budget will go to social services; 29.3 percent or PHP1.474 trillion to economic services; 17.2 percent or PHP862.7 billion to general public services; 10.8 percent or PHP541.3 billion to debt burden (including net lending); and 4.5 percent or PHP224.4 billion to defense.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the 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.

"Inaasahan po na nasumite na ng ating Department of Budget and Management kaninang umaga po ang PHP5.024 trillion na proposed 2022 National expenditure Program sa ating Kongreso. Ito po ngayon ang pinakamataas na budget na sinumite ng Ehekutibo sa Kongreso (We expect that the Department of Budget and Management has submitted this morning the PHP5.024 trillion proposed 2022 National Expenditure Program to Congress. This is the highest budget submitted by the Executive Branch to Congress)," Roque said in a press briefing in SM City San Mateo.

Under the 2022 NEP, PHP45.4 billion was proposed for the purchase Covid-19 booster shots of 93.798 million fully vaccinated Filipinos.

The NEP will allocate PHP983 million for the establishment of the Virology Science and Technology Institute of the Philippines.

A total of PHP140 million will be allocated for the biosurveillance and immune-biosurveillance of Covid-19 variants under the Philippine Genomic Information and Resource Hub. (with reports from Azer Parrocha/PNA)