HIGHLIGHTS: Hon. Karlo Alexei Nograles’ Sponsorship Speech on House Bill No. 6215 – FY 2018 General Appropriations Bill

Here are the highlights of the sponsorship speech delivered by Rep. Nograles during the schedule of Sponsorship and Floor Deliberations of House Bill No. 6215 last Sept. 4.

 

  1. Key takeaways

  • LGUs as partners in achieving sustainable national development

  • Spelled out in the PDP 2017-2022 are the goals of matatag, maginhawa at panatag na pamumuhay

  • 2018 budget was crafted to finance the most urgent priority programs that will

      • Reduce Poverty

      • Reduce Inequality

      • Maintain foundations for sustainable development

      • Increase PH’s growth potential

      • Enhance governance

  1. Reducing Poverty

  1. Education

  • Government must remain as the ultimate financier of social services. This budget addresses the lingering twin problems of poverty and inequality through better education at all levels by increasing the budget of education to PhP691.1 B in 2018, higher by PhP41.7 B compared to 2017.

  • PhP613.1 B will go to DepEd alone for the much needed

    • Construction of 47,000 classrooms

    • Repair and rehabilitation of 18,000 classrooms

    • Procurement of 84,100 teaching positions

    • Additional assistance and subsidies to students and teachers

  • This year’s budget will also strengthen and expand access to higher education through additional government assistance and subsidies to students and teachers, the implementation of the Unified Financial Assistance System (UniFAST) Act and by providing P4.8 B worth of financial assistance to college students through CHEd’s Tulong Dunong Program

  1. Improving Healthcare

  • An increase in the provision for the Health Facilities Enhancement Program of DOH from PhP24.2 B in 2017 to PhP29 B in 2018. This is dedicated for:

    • Facilities improvement of 353 hospitals

    • Construction of 1,497 Barangay Health Units (BHU)

    • Building of 177 Rural Health Units (RHU)

    • Complete and quip 3,320 RHUs and 28,188 BHU

  • Likewise, some P57.18B for the National Health Insurance Program is intended for health insurance benefits of:

    • 15.4 million families (Pegged at PhP2,400 per family)

    • 5.4 million senior citizens (Pegged at PhP3,120 per senior citizen)

    • 22,514 families under the PAMANA Program

    • 22,790 Bangsamoro families

  • PhP 9.7 B, on the other hand is dedicated to the Health Human Resource Deployment Program for the hiring and deployment of multiple doctors, nurses, midwives and dentists to hard-to-reach communities

  1. Strengthening Labor and Employment

  • Efforts to strengthening Labor and Employment will include the creation of more opportunities and improvement of the ability of Filipinos to earn a living through

    • The provision of PhP7 B to TESDA for skills enhancement and retooling programs

    • PhP2.6 B for the Training for Work Scholarship Program (TWSP)

    • PhP681.5 M for the Special Training for Employment Program (STEP)

  • DOLE on the other hand will receive PhP11.2 B for

    • Upgrading of skills and qualifications

    • Job matching

    • Special Program for the Employment of Students (SPES)

    • JobStart Philippines Program

    • Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers Program

  • The Conditional Cash Transfer Program (CCT) will be enhanced by continuing to protect the 4.4 million existing members of the 4Ps with an PhP89.4 B allocation to cover educational grants, livelihood assistance and health services for Transitioning Household Beneficiaries

  • PhP 7.1 B will also be used to strengthen the Sustainable Livelihood Program of DSWD for vocational skills training and financial assistance for livelihood

  1. Reducing Inequality

  1. Expand Opportunities in Industry and Services

  • To address inequality and ensure the redistribution of incomes in favor of the poor, the 2018 budget will expand opportunities in industry and services through a PhP6.7 B budget for DTI

  • DTI’s PhP6.7 B budget breakdown:

    • PhP 515 M to establish 150 new Negosyo Centers, sustaining 597 existing centers, financial assistance to 45,000 MSMEs

    • PhP 200 M for Shared Service Facilities

    • Comprehensive Automative Resurgence Strategy (CARS)

  • Reviving the manufacturing industry through the comprehensive automotive resurgence strategy. While we are providing it with P27 B worth of incentives and fixed investment support for the production of 600,000 cars and car parts, this program will bring in P7.5 B in fresh incentives, 67,500 new jobs, and P7.6 B in revenues for the government

  • We will accelerate job creation in the countryside by improving access to tourism gateways, service centers and well as economic zones. The budget for the ‘Convergence’ project of DOT and DPWH will increase from P12.3 B in 2017 to P35 B in 2018 to build more roads leading to tourism destinations

  • This year’s budget also earmarks PhP12 B to fund the President’s Roads Leveraging Linkages of Industry and Trade (ROLL IT) program, for the construction of roads leading to trade, industrial, manufacturing, agribusiness and other economic zones.

  1. Ensuring Food Security

  • DA will be provided P54.2 B in 2018, up from P45.9 B in 2017 to increase the total irrigated harvest area using hybrid seeds by 500,000 hectatres or by 47 percent, which would mean 19.79 million metric tons of palay yield compared to this year’s target of 18.57 million metric tons.

  • Other major productivity enhancing programs to be implemented include: PhP40.9 B for NIA for the rehabilitation, restoration and repair of irrigation systems nationwide; P11.8 B to construct an additional of 1,179 kilometers of farm to market roads (FMRs); P951 M for the acquisition of 379 Combine Harvesters and 465 Transplanters; and PhP2.3 B to fund for R&D initiatives on planting materials, poultry, piggery, and fishery products.

  1. Strengthen Land Tenure and Security

  • DAR will be provided PhP10.3 B to fast-track land distribution to beneficiaries and enhance pro-farmer programs of which PhP1.1 B will give much needed agribusiness and agri-forestry programs to Mindanao through the extension of the Mindanao Sustainable Agrarian and Agriculture Development Project. The project also covers P603 M for DAR’s climate resilient farm productivity support program to strengthen the crop production of our ARB organizations.

  1. Strengthening the Foundation for Sustainable Development

  1. Fast-track Strategic Infrastructure

  • The2018 budget must also provide the foundation for sustainable development. To achieve this, we must embark a massive infrastructure program, complemented by reforms in programs on peace, security, and ecological integrity.

  • Over the medium term, the Duterte administration will need to raise substantial funding for its Build Build Build Program. For 2018, this amounts to P1.097 T, a 27.9 percent increase over its 2017 level of P858.1 B. Some P431.1 B will fund various road network projects of DPWH. Notably we will be constructing P49.3 B worth of bypasses and diversion roads.

  • The DoTR will receive P12.6 B representing a whopping 157.1 percent increase as compared to the current P4.9 B. It will be utilized for:

    • The Cebu Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) – PhP 5.4 B

    • Metro Manila BRT Line 1 – PhP 1.8 B

    • Metro manila BRT Line 2 – PhP 3.2 B

  • For 2018, our government will set aside P10.1 B for the Aviation Infrastructure Program of DoTR to build new airports and expand, modernize existing ones. It will be utilized for:

    • New Bohol (Panglao) International Airport Development Project – PhP 386 M

    • Kalibo Airport, Aklan – PhP920 M

    • Tacloban Airport – PhP 716 M

    • Cauyan Airport, Isabela – PhP 306 M

    • Zamboanga International airport – PhP 221 M

  • Another crucial pillar for trade and mobility is sea transportation. To address problems of congestion, the budget allocates some P1.7 B for the modernization of ports and harbours including the upgrading of their operational efficiency in the movement of cargo and vessels.

    • Al-Barka Ports Cluster, Basilan – PhP 50 M

    • Volcana Islan Port, Talisay, Batangas – PhP 30 M

    • Agkawayan, Looc, Occidental Mindoro – PhP 42 M

    • Taganak Port, Turtle Island, Tawi-Tawi – PhP 71 M

    • San Roque Port, Palimbang, Sultan Kudarat – PhP 17 M

    • Pangutaran Port, Sulu – PhP 20 M

    • Dolores Port, Eastern Samar – PhP 50 M

  • The Rail Transportation Program of the President will also be fast tracked to address growing traffic problems as well as to increase economic activities. PhP6.6 B for the 105-km Mindanao Railway Project Phase 1 will cut down travel time from Davao City to Surigao and Cagayan de Oro City from 8 to 2 hours and provide a section linking Davao City to Tagum City in Davaol del Norte and Digos City in Davao del Sur. PhP7.1 B for the 653-km North-South Railway Project Phase 2 – PNR South to accommodate around 400,000 passengers per day on opening year. And PhP1.2 B Unified Common Stations connecting 3 railways and serving 500,000 passengers per day are some of the examples of railway systems that we will be embarking on.

 

Photo courtesy: House of Representatives