Senator Sonny Angara said the signing of the PHP4.1-trillion General Appropriations Act of 2020 by President Rodrigo Duterte signals the start of the implementation of more flagship projects that are meant to improve the lives of the Filipino people.

“The 2020 GAA could be described as the first legacy budget of the Duterte administration. In the last three years of the administration, there will be an uptick in the implementation of infrastructure projects, particularly the flagship projects, which are meant to improve the everyday lives of the people,” Angara said.

Under this year’s national budget, the chair of the Senate Committee on Finance pointed out that the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) received a net increase of PHP 51.139 billion.

“The idea is to complete as many projects as possible by the time President Duterte ends his term in 2022. For the more complex projects, the plan is to get the ball rolling already so that the next administration will just continue these and complete them during their term,” he said.

Angara said education and social services, two key areas that are important to Duterte, are also given priority in the 2020 GAA.

He said the conditional cash transfer or the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program will continue as part of the government’s efforts to reduce poverty in the country, while benefits due to the senior citizens will still be funded in the 2020 budget.

The senator said the 2020 GAA also ensures that health care professionals such as the doctors, nurses, midwives and dentists will continue to be deployed to serve the different communities around the country.

“The Department of Health will be able to continue its hiring of doctors, nurses, midwives, dentists, and other health professionals under its Deployment of Human Resources for Health program. A significant number of our ‘kababayans’ are situated in far flung areas and cannot afford to travel when they need medical attention and that is why this program should be sustained and supported,” Angara said.

The PHP4.1-trillion 2020 GAA is 9 percent higher than the PHP3.76-trillion budget for 2019.

Based on the new appropriations, the 10 agencies with the highest budgets are: Education (DepEd, SUCs, CHED, TESDA) — PHP654.6 billion; DPWH — PHP580.8 billion; Department of the Interior and Local Government — PHP239.8 billion; Department of National Defense — PHP191.7 billion; Department of Social Welfare and Development — PHP163.8 billion; DOH — PHP101 billion; Department of Transportation — PHP99.3 billion; Department of Agriculture–– PHP62.2 billion; Judiciary — PHP40.1 billion; and Department of Environment and Natural Resources — PHP25.5 billion. (PNA)
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