The DBM has submitted to Congress - for its scrutiny, deliberation, and approval - the Fiscal Year 2021 National Expenditure Program (NEP) amounting to P4.506 Trillion.
Higher than this year’s budget by 9.9 percent and equivalent to 21.8 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the theme of the proposed budget is “Reset, Rebound, and Recover: Investing for Resiliency and Sustainability”. Every peso of the P4.506 trillion FY 2021 NEP went through numerous budget hearings and consultations with the agencies.
By Expense Class
Personnel Services will corner the bulk of the FY 2021 NEP at 29.2 percent, reaching P1.32 trillion. This level considers the huge additional hiring of health workers under the Human Resource for Health Program of the Department of Health (DOH), the second tranche implementation of the Salary Standardization Law of 2019, and the increased pension requirements of military and uniformed personnel.
Capital Outlays will come in second with P920.5 billion, accounting for 20.4 percent of the proposed budget and growing by 12.9 percent. The increase in Capital Outlays from this year’s budget is owed mainly to the increase in infrastructure programs of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH, 14.7 percent) and Department of Transportation (DOTr, 42.6 percent).
Meanwhile, Maintenance, Operating and Other Expenditures will amount to P699.4 billion, Debt Burden with P560.2 billion, Support to Government-Owned and -Controlled Corporations with P157.5 billion, and Tax Expenditures with P14.5 billion.
The FY 2021 NEP remains anchored on the Administration’s key priorities to help the country recover quickly from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hence, the bulk of next year’s proposed budget will be provided to the social services sector amounting to P1.664 trillion, equivalent to 36.9 percent. This includes funding support for programs related to health, social protection, and education. The economic services sector will receive the second highest allocation with P1.347 trillion or 29.9 percent of the proposed budget.
Meanwhile, the General Public Services sector will be allocated with P724.2 billion, Debt Burden with P560.2 billion, and Defense with P210.6 billion.
By Top Ten Departments
The Department of Education (DepEd), including State Universities and Colleges, the Commission on Higher Education, and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, remains the top agency with the biggest slice from the proposed budget, with an allocation of P754.4 billion. This will support the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education (P47.1 billion) and the development, reproduction and delivery of learning resources for the implementation of the Basic Education Learning Continuity Plan Program or BE-LCP (P16.1 billion), among many others.
This is followed by DPWH with a proposed budget of P667.3 billion, the Department of Interior and Local Government with P246.1 billion, the Department of National Defense with P209.1 billion, the DOH with P203.1 billion (including the budget for the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation), the Department of Social Welfare and Development with P171.2 billion, the DOTr with P143.6 billion, the Department of Agriculture with P66.4 billion, the Judiciary with P43.5 billion, and the Department of Labor and Employment with P27.5 billion.
Summing up to P2.564 trillion, the budget of these top ten departments accounts for 56.9 percent of the proposed budget, and 86.9 percent of the total proposed budget for National Government Agencies.
Reset, Rebound and Recover: Investing for Resiliency and Sustainability
Reset: Responding to the Pandemic
The FY 2021 NEP will prioritize health-related COVID-19 response programs to address the continuing threat of the pandemic. Hence, budgetary support will be provided for the National Health Insurance Program (P71.4 billion), Medical Assistance to Indigent Patients (P17.3 billion), and Human Resources for Health Program (P16.6 billion), among others. Around P6.1 billion is allocated for the upgrading of equipment, laboratories and isolation facilities in the different regions, and some P2.7 billion is set aside for the provision of personal protective equipment to DOH hospitals, laboratories, and centers. Meanwhile, an initial P2.5 billion and P283.5 million will be provided for the procurement of COVID-19 vaccine and the establishment of a Virology Center, respectively. The DOH will also be supported with P1.03 billion for the purchase of about 861,720 GeneXpert cartridges to be used in GeneXpert machines for COVID-19 testing. To improve health data systems, P51.56 million will be allotted under the DOH for disease surveillance and monitoring of COVID-19 and other similar respiratory infections.
Rebound: Reviving Infrastructure Development
The National Government will also continue to advance the Build, Build, Build Program. A total of P1.107 trillion for Public Infrastructure Program (5.4 percent of GDP) is embedded in the proposed budget for strategic infrastructure development and to create jobs and catalyze business activities all over the country.
For the DPWH, the FY 2021 NEP will support its Network Development Program (P157.5 billion), Flood Management Program (P125.9 billion), Asset Preservation Program (P59.0 billion), and Bridge Program (P44.4 billion), among others. For the DOTr, meanwhile, the Rail Transport Program (P106.3 billion), Land Public Transportation Program (P16.2 billion), and Maritime Infrastructure Program (P166.4 million) will also remain to be funded. Some P21.4 billion will likewise be allocated for Information and Communications Technology expenditures to improve the country’s wi-fi and broadband infrastructures and develop e-platform and online systems to support the e-governance initiatives of different departments.
Recover: Adapting to the post-pandemic life
The FY 2021 NEP will also prioritize government programs that help improve the productivity of the agriculture and fishery sector such as the irrigation services activities of the National Irrigation Authority (P31.5 billion), the National Rice Program (P15.7 billion) and the Rice Competitive Enhancement Program (P10.0 billion) pursuant to Republic Act No. 11203. The proposed budget will also support the Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Development Program (P2.3 billion) for the recovery of MSMEs.
Moreover, promoting digital upskilling, training and retooling of workers through the Training for Work Scholarship Program (P3.6 billion) and the Tulong Trabaho Scholarship Program (P1.0 billion) will also be prioritized.
The government will continue to aid vulnerable groups by funding programs such as the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (P113.8 billion), Social Pension for Indigent Senior Citizens (P23.2 billion), Sustainable Livelihood Program (P4.3 billion) and the Supplementary Feeding Program (P3.7 billion), among many others.
The priorities for the education sector have been reshaped to respond to specific demands and challenges that require the adoption of flexible and blended learning. This will be achieved through a two-pronged strategy by expanding and institutionalizing flexible and multi-modal learning and teaching options (P15.2 billion) and by funding the expansion of DepEd's Computerization Program (P9.0 billion).
The FY 2021 NEP is thus based on the sound fiscal policy of spending within means, on the right priorities, and with measurable results under a regime of transparent, accountable and participatory governance.