Budget Secretary Amenah F. Pangandaman on Thursday shared that the country’s Social Services sector will get the largest share of the 2023 National Budget at Php 2.0 trillion or 38.1 percent.
The Budget Chief gave an overview of the 2023 General Appropriations Act (GAA) to the British business and finance community during the Philippine Economic Briefing in London, United Kingdom.
The budget for the Social Services sector will fund health and education-related programs, among others, which include the Universal Health Care Act and the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act.
Education remains the number one priority, as mandated by the Constitution, with Php 896.08 billion.
“On top of this, we have given the Health Department one of the biggest increases in the budget, with the commitment to strengthen our healthcare system following lessons from the pandemic, as well as the mandate of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. to expand access to affordable and inclusive healthcare nationwide,” the Budget Chief added.
The Department of Health is given Php 314.7 billion, covering the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation.
Secretary Pangandaman added that aside from health and education, social protection is also being strengthened with a budget of almost Php 200 billion for the Department of Social Welfare and Development to ensure that no one is left behind.
Meanwhile, Economic Services get the second largest share of the national budget, with Php 1.6 trillion or 30.8 percent, signifying the government’s continued interest to invest in public infrastructure to drive economic growth and generate employment opportunities.
“We are also determined to maintain infrastructure spending at 5 to 6 percent of GDP from now until 2028. With this in mind, we are continuing the Build, Build, Build Program of the previous administration, and we now call it Build, Better, More,” Secretary Pangandaman added.
The Economic sector likewise covers agriculture and agrarian reform. The Budget Chief shared that the Administration is determined to make it “a driving force for growth and the source of our food security.” She added that the Department of Agriculture and its attached agencies received a budgetary boost of more than 40 percent from last year’s budget, with Php 173.6 billion.
With the said priority expenditures, coupled with legislative and budget reforms, Secretary Pangandaman is confident that the country will not only meet, but even surpass economic targets.
On the same day of the economic briefing in London, the Philippines’ Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was reported to have exceeded growth targets, registering at 7.6% in 2022.
“We are on track with our Agenda for Prosperity and I am confident that as long as we stay the path, we will also achieve our targets of single-digit poverty levels and upper middle-income class status as planned,” the Secretary ended.
Also joining the Budget Chief in PEB London were Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno, Socioeconomic Planning Undersecretary Rosemarie Edillon, and Bangko Sentral Governor Felipe Medalla.