Philippine Laws: December 2010

After failing to write a blog last month because of the absence of any new laws, I had hoped that this month will allow me to have a good “blogging” start for this new year of this new decade.  Unfortunately, P-Noy was again not able to approve any new law in December 2010. . . except for the 2011 national budget, which was approved on December 27, 2010 as Republic Act No. 10147.

It is reported that this is the first time that we have approved a national budget, before the end of the year, in almost a decade.  In the recent past, we would operate under a re-enacted budget because of the failure of Congress to ratify a budget bill, or of the President to sign a ratified bill, before the end of the year.

Set forth below are some of my notes on the 2011 national budget:

1.     While the 2011 national budget was reported to amount to PhP 1.645 Trillion, the Total New Appropriations amount to PhP 1.000 Trillion, the Automatic Appropriations amount to PhP 711.5 Billion, and the Debt Service – Principal Amortizations amount to PhP 466.2 Billion, resulting in the total of PhP 2.178 Trillion.  (As of the time of this blog, I have not been able to get an explanation regarding the reported national budget, and the total of Total New Appropriations, Automatic Appropriations and Debt Service – Principal Amortizations.  So, for purposes of this blog, I will consider the total national budget to be the latter.)

2.     The Total New Appropriations amount to 45.9% of the total national budget of PhP 2.178 Trillion.  The Automatic Appropriations amount to 32.67%, and the Debt Service – Principal Amortizations amount to 21.4%. The 2011 Total New Appropriations is PhP 304.1 Billion lower than that in 2010; but, the 2011 Automatic Appropriations is PhP 356.4 Billion higher, and the 2011 Debt Service – Principal Amortizations is PhP 60.8 Billion higher.

3.     Of the Total New Appropriations, the highest budget was given to the Department of Education, which was allotted PhP 192.3 Billion, or 19.22 % of the Total New Appropriations.  The Department of National Defense was allotted PhP 104.5 Billion (10.44%), and the Department of Public Works and Highways was allotted PhP 100.8 Billion (10.08%).

4.     The budgets of some pro-poor departments are as follows:  (a) Department of Agrarian Reform – PhP 16.4 Billion (1.64% of the Total New Appropriations); (b) Department of Agriculture – PhP 37.3 Billion (3.72%); (c) Department of Health – PhP 32.6 Billion (3.26%); (d) Department of Labor and Employment – PhP 6.4 Billion (0.64%); and (e) Department of Social Welfare and Development – PhP 34.2 Billion (3.42%).

5.     The Department of Interior and Local Government was allotted PhP 86.9 Billion (8.69% of the Total New Appropriations).  (This may explain partially why there was a lot of interest, early on in P-Noy’s administration, as to who will head the department.)

6.     The Judiciary, one of three branches of our Government, was allotted only PhP 13.6 Billion, or 1.36% of the Total New Appropriations.  However, this is a 7.57% increase from the 2010 budget of PhP 12.6 Billion.  (One hopes that this is enough to give members of the Judiciary reason to avoid corruption.)

7.     The highest percentage budget increases were given to: (i) the Calamity Fund (from PhP 2 Billion in 2010 to PhP 5 Billion in 2011, or 150% increase); (ii) the Priority Development Assistance fund (from PhP 10.8 Billion to PhP 24.8 Billion, or 128.55 increase); and (iii) the Department of Social Welfare and Development (from PhP 15.3 Billion to PhP 34.2 Billion, or 123.3% increase).  (These budget increases may be among the few good things that resulted from Ondoy and the other natural disasters that we suffered last year.)  In this connection, the Automatic Appropriations increased by 100.4%, from PhP 355.1 Billion in 2010, to PhP 711.5 Billion in 2011.

8.     In absolute terms, the biggest budget increases were given to: (a) the Department of National Defense (PhP 46.8 Billion increase); (b) the Department of Education (PhP 30.9 Billion increase); (c) the Department of the Interior and Local Government (PhP 21.3 Billion increase); (d) the Department of Social Welfare and Development (PhP 18.9 Billion increase); and (e) the Department of Transportation and Communication (PhP 14.6 Billion increase).

9.     The highest percentage budget decreases were given to: (a) the Commission on Elections (from PhP 10.4 Billion in 2010 to PhP 2.3 Billion in 2011, or 78.4% decrease); (b) the Budgetary Support for Government Corporations (from PhP 24.3 Billion to PhP 8.2 Billion, or 66.3% decrease); (c) Allocations to Local Government Units (from PhP 31.7 Billion to PhP 13.1 Billion, or 58.8% decrease; (d) the Retirement Benefits Fund (from PhP 80 Billion to PhP 35 Billion, or 56.2% decrease; (e) the National Economic and Development Authority (from PhP 4 Billion to PhP 2.1 Billion, or 47.7% decrease); and (f) the Unprogrammed Fund (from PhP 118.9 Billion to PhP 66.9 Billion, or 43.7% decrease).

10.     In absolute terms, the biggest budget decreases were given to: (i) the Unprogrammed Fund (PhP 52 Billion); (ii) the Retirement Benefits Fund (formerly, the Pension and Gratuity Fund) (PhP 45 Billion decrease); (iii) the Department of Public Works and Highways (PhP 26.1 Billion decrease); (iv) Allocations to Local Government Units (PhP 18.6 Billion decrease); and (v) Budgetary Support to Government Corporations (PhP 16.1 Billion decrease).

11.     In 2010, the total budget for debt service, principal amortization (PhP 405.4 Billion) and interest payment (P276.2 Billion), amounted to 33% of the total national budget of PhP 2.065 Trillion.  In 2011, there was no specified budget for interest payments, while the budget for principal amortization (PhP 466.2 Billion) amounts to 21.4% of the total national budget of PhP 2.178 Trillion.

12.     Aside from debt service – interest payments, the 2011 national budget did not contain separate allocations for the AFP Modernization Program, the General Fund Adjustments, and the National Unification Fund.  The deletion of the PhP 5 Billion 2010 budget for the AFP Modernization Program in 2011 was more than made up by the PhP 34.1 Billion budget increase for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (from PhP 55.7 Billion in 2010 to PhP 89.8 Billion in 2011).

13.     In 2011, the University of the Philippines System (the College of Law of which is celebrating its 100th Year Anniversary this year) was allotted a budget of PhP  5.5 Billion, compared to the PhP 6.9 Billion allotted in 2010.  The next largest allocation was given to Mindanao State University, which was allotted PhP 1.3 Billion, compared to the PhP 1.2 Billion allotted in 2010.

I am keeping my fingers crossed that the 2011 national budget will be used to better the lives of the greater majority of the Filipino people.

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