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PIA Press Release

PGMA okays P1.54T national budget

Manila (10 February) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has signed the P1.54 trillion 2010 national budget in the evening of February 9, thus, it is now in effect.

In her message to Congress, the President described Republic Act 9970, her final budget act, as the "culmination of [my] administration?s commitment to reform and responsible development."

She said the 2010 budget represents not only "the end of years of hard work and fiscal reforms" but also "the beginning from which the next president can build on the accomplishments of this administration."

Budget Secretary Rolando Andaya Jr. made the announcement during a press briefing after the Cabinet meeting held at Barangay Talipapa Hall in Quezon City, the site of the Mindanao Avenue and Quirino Avenue underpass project.

He said this year?s outlay of P1.54 trillion is eight (8) percent, or P115 billion, higher than last year's P1.426-trillion budget.

President Arroyo did not veto the P64.6 billion earmarks and insertions made by the lawmakers in the 2010 budget, Secretary Andaya stressed. She only put in a stipulation or condition that the amount would only be released if there are new revenue measures to fund it.

In the ratification of the budget, the lawmakers cut the allocation for debt service by P64.6 billion, bringing it down to P276.212 billion. The amount cut was allocated for other projects.

"The President, however, restored the amount because debt service payment is an automatic appropriation," Secretary Andaya said.

The top 10 recipients of the 2010 budget, by department, are the Department of Education, P174. 9 billion; Department of Public Works and Highways, P135.6 billion; Department of the Interior and Local Government, P66.45 billion; Department of National Defense, P57.84 billion; and the Department of Agriculture, P41.17 billion.

The rest are the Department of Health, P29.28 billion; State Colleges and Universities, P23.84 billion; Department of Agrarian Reform, P21.06 billion; Department of Transportation and Communications, P17.16 billion; and the Department of Social Welfare and Development, P15.37 billion.

Secretary Andaya said the allocation for infrastructure in the 2010 budget "has been calibrated to largely complete" commitments of the President under her State of the Nation Address in previous years.

"The next administration will have more infra room in choosing what projects to pursue. It is up to them to decide where to lay the bricks on," Secretary Andaya added.

The budget secretary said that by object of expenditures, "personal services (PS) or pay, pension and premium contributions" of government personnel, will get P494 billion, the biggest share of the pie.

The 15.2-percent hike in PS over last year is largely due to the passage of the Salary Standardization Law III, which took effect on June 2009, and will require P68.4 billion on its second year of implementation in June.

The government will also create 14,729 new DepEd positions at a cost of P2.1 billion for the initial year, and hire 10,000 policemen at a cost of P1.4 billion.

The largest expense class in the budget?Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses (MOOE)? will be allocated P864 billion, P100 billion more than in 2009. (PIA 8) [top]

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