President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday signed the P4.5-trillion national budget for 2021 that will boost the government’s efforts to effectively respond to the challenges of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic and provide critical measures to aid the economic and social sectors.
Duterte signed Republic Act (RA) No. 11518, or the General Appropriations Act for 2021, in a ceremony in Malacañang Palace that was hosted by Undersecretary Jacinto Paras of the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office.
In his speech, Duterte emphasized that the budget bill attests to a fruitful collaboration between the executive and legislative branches of government especially at a time where the health and welfare of people are at stake.
“The prompt ratification of the ’21 national budget is a testament of our commitment to set aside divisive partisan politics. Indeed, at this crucial juncture in our history, we can no longer afford to engage in politics of division, hate and finger pointing,” he said.
Duterte recognized the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) under the able leadership of Secretary Wendel Avisado.
“I am pleased that through the budget we may continue to pursue our flagship Build, Build, Build program, revitalize our industry, and service sectors, and support our much-needed social services project,” he said.
Duterte said one of the most important allocations in the budget is the P72.5 billion for the purchase of storage, transportation, and distribution of Covid-19 vaccines.
The DBM said the PP4.5-trillion national budget for 2021, equivalent to 21.8 percent of gross domestic product, is the country’s largest to date, larger by 10 percent than the 2020 national budget.
In a statement, the DBM said the Education sector received the largest portion with P751.7 billion, or 16.7 percent of the 2021 national budget.
“The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) will follow suit with P695.7 billion (15.4 percent) and P249.3 billion (5.5 percent), respectively,” the DBM said.
Meanwhile, the DBM said the Department of Health (DOH), which leads the government’s Covid-19 response, received P210.2 billion, 19.6-percent higher than its 2020 budget.
This is followed by the Department of National Defense (DND) with P205.8 billion, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) with P176.9 billion, Department of Transportation (DOTr) with P87.9 billion, Department of Agriculture (DA) with P71.0