Duterte signs ₱5.024T national budget for 2022

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 30) — President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday signed the ₱5.024-trillion national budget for 2022, giving the government a bigger war chest for its COVID-19 response and much-needed calamity relief measures.

With pandemic response still a major item, Republic Act 11639, Duterte’s last budget under his watch, also provides funds for typhoon relief and rehabilitation. The President earlier said ₱6 billion of the ₱10 billion he pledged for typhoon aid will come from next year’s budget. 

Equal to a fifth of the country’s projected economic output measured in terms of gross domestic product, the administration said the over ₱5-trillion spending program lays down the groundwork for economic rebound while living with the coronavirus including the occurrence of more transmissible variants like Omicron, and helping typhoon victims pick up the pieces.

Economic managers maintained the growth target at 7-9% from the current 5-5.5% range.

The top 10 groups that will get the lion’s share are education (Department of Education, Commission on Higher Education, state universities and colleges, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority); Department of Public Works and Highways; Department of Health and Philippine Health Insurance Corporation; Department of Interior and Local Government; Department of National Defense; Department of Social Welfare and Development; Department of Agriculture and National Irrigation Administration; Department of Transportation; Department of Labor and Employment; and the Judiciary.

In terms of programs, the budget law set aside ₱48.2 billion for the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines for booster shots and ₱51 billion for special risk allowance of health workers, according to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM). Of the funding for boosters, however, only ₱2.8 billion is under the regular Health budget while the rest, or ₱45.4 billion, is under unprogrammed appropriations subject to fund availability if total revenue exceeds the target.

The DBM said ₱80 billion for the National Health Insurance Program will benefit 13.2 million indigent families and 7.3 million senior citizens.

The Health Facilities Enhancement Program received ₱23 billion for the construction, upgrade, expansion and purchase of health facilities and hospital equipment.

Of the ₱56.3 billion for the Health Facilities Operations Program, ₱32.6 billion is for the purchase of drugs, medicine, and vaccines, while ₱17 billion is for salaries and benefits of public health personnel.

The planned Virology Science and Technology Institute of the Philippines got ₱983 million, while the Philippine Genomic Information Resource Hub received ₱200 million to sustain genomic biosurveillance.

Socioeconomic measures

Next year’s budget includes measures for displaced workers such as ₱26.5 billion for the TUPAD (Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers) and Government Internship Program, and another ₱52.7 million for the Reintegration Services Program.

“Social protection programs of the DSWD such as the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (P107.7 billion), Protective Services for Individuals and Families in Difficult Circumstances (P18.0 billion) and Sustainable Livelihood Program (P4.7 billion) is also also supported to safeguard the poor and the vulnerable,” said the DBM.

Budgetary support for priority education include ₱14.7 billion for the Basic Education Learning Continuity Plan and ₱11.8 billion for the Computerization Program.

The budget for other projects include ₱1.5 billion for the National Broadband Plan, ₱4.8 billion for the Philippine Identification System, and ₱574 million for a community-based monitoring system to address poverty.

Higher natl tax share for LGUs

The 2022 budget will also improve local governance as it provides a larger share of taxes for local governments in line with the Supreme Court’s Mandanas-Garcia ruling. The decision gives local governments 40% share from all revenue collections instead of only from the Bureau of Internal Revenue

To be called national revenue allotment, LGUs will receive a total of ₱959.04 billion from tax proceeds, a 38% jump from shares this year.

“This ruling is therefore another milestone towards genuine local autonomy as this presents a unique opportunity for LGUs to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of public services, by gradually taking on the functions which are already devolved to them under the 1991 Local Government Code,” said the DBM.

Build, Build, Build

The 2022 budget will continue the Build, Build, Build, touted as the administration’s centerpiece infrastructure program.

To carry this out, the DPWH share is ₱786.6 billion next year, while DOTr got ₱75.8 billion.

“Such infrastructure programs include the Network Development Program (P127 billion), Flood Management Program (P129 billion), Rail Transport Program (P23.1 billion) and the Land Public Transportation Program (P16 billion), among others,” said the DBM.

The 2022 budget is 10% more than the current.

“The 2022 budget reaffirms the government’s strong commitment to provide a more comfortable and productive life for each Filipino. This will also cement this administration’s legacy of real change for future generations guided by the three main pillars for building resiliency amidst the pandemic, sustaining the momentum recovery, continuing legacy of infrastructure development,” said Duterte after the budget enactment.

CNN Philippines digital producer Pilar Manuel contributed to this report.