Govt hikes budget for social services

THE Aquino government is increasing its allocation for social services  to P560.8 billion in 2011, 14.1 percent higher tha the current year’s outlay for  social programs of P491.52 billion.

The social services outlay for 2011 represents 34.1 percent of the total proposed budget of P1.645 trillion.

Department of Finance (DOF) data showed the bulk of the P69.28 billion increase in funding for social services will go to education, culture and manpower, bringing next year’s allocation to a total of P271.67 billion from this year’s P240.58 billion.

Social funding for education, culture and manpower would include, among others, the P12.4 billion outlay for new school houses; P8.6 billion for new scholarship grants; P727.5 million for mass production of science and mathematics equipment; P21 million for the Every Child a Reader Program (ECARP); P1.8 billion for the purchase of some 32.3 million textbooks; and, P1.6 billion for creation of 10,000 new teaching positions.

Government services for social security, welfare and employment will receive the second highest funding of P132.97 billion, up 28.4 percent from this year’s allocation of P103.57 billion.

This would include the expanded conditional cash transfers (CCT) worth P21.1 billion to be administered by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the “Food for School” program that would now be taken over by the DSWD from the education department.

Health services were given an allocation of P38.63 billion next year, which represents a slight P1.4 billion drop from this year’s budget of P40.03 billion.

Health services outly would include, among others, the P5.7 billion earmarked for the setting up of additional basic and comprehensive emergency obstetrics and newborn care facilities; the P2.5 billion for the expanded immunization program; and the P1.5 billion for delivery of potable water supply in waterless communities.

Funding for housing and community development services, meanwhile, would go up to P5.74 billion from this year’s P5.47 billion while services for land distribution would triple to P3.97 billion from P1.28 billion in 2010.

The triple increase in land distribution outlay reflects the new government’s commitment to speed up the agrarian reform program.

Allocation for other social services, however, is declining by P59 million to P1.65 billion in 2011 against the P2.24 billion set aside for this year.

Direct subsidies to local government units (LGUs) on top of its P289.9 billion Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) will increase to P106.17 billion, an expansion of 7.9  percent from this year’s P98.35 billion.

The country’s LGUs will receive a total allocation under the 2011 budget of P300 billion.

The Aquino government last week submitted to Congress its spending plan for next year, which was 6.8 percent higher than this year’s budget of P1.54 trillion.

The 2011 budget would be supported by P1.41 trillion of revenues, 90 percent of which will come from taxes while the outlay balance of P137.2 billion will be funded by non-tax revenues such as fees and charges, income and foreign grants.

Next year’s deficit is pegged at P290 billion or 3.2 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP), which would be financed by P257.3 billion domestic borrowings and P49.5 billion overseas credit. Dino Ng

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