President Aquino leads ceremonial signing of 2013 General Appropriations Act in Malacanang
President Benigno S. Aquino III led the ceremonial signing of the P2.006-trillion 2013 General Appropriations Act (GAA) in ceremonies held in Malacanang on Wednesday.
Dubbed the Empowerment Budget, the 2013 GAA was signed into law by President Aquino at the Rizal Ceremonial Hall of Malacanang Palace.
The 2013 National Budget aims to give the Filipinos more opportunities for governance engagement by investing in strategic programs and projects that spotlight the citizens' role as economic movers.
Next year's national budget is P2.006 trillion, about 10.5 percent higher than this year's budget of P1.816 trillion.
Of the 2013 budget, the lion's share will still go to social services, most notably to the Department of Education (P232.6 billion), the Department of Social Welfare and Development (P56.3 billion) and the Department of Health (P51.1 billion).
Meanwhile, the economic development will also be supported by next year's budget for Capital outlay which rose to P325.5 billion and through the implementation of the infrastructure programs under the Department of Public Works and Highways which will receive P155.5 billion.
The 2013 GAA was crafted with the aim of investing significantly in the people's capabilities by prioritizing funding for public services that provide jobs, educate our youth, ensure a healthier citizenry and empower each Filipino to participate in economic activity.
For his part, Budget and Management Secretary Florencio Abad said that expenditures next year are expected to sustain or even levels posted in 2012. He also stressed that the improved budget execution and project implementation may help drive further growth in the country next year.
"The 2013 GAA was crafted together with civil society groups and communities on-the-ground, who gave us tremendous insight on the ways through which we could reconcile our citizens' needs with the government's expenditure plan," Abad said.
Also in attendance were Senator Franklin Drilon, Senator Edgardo Angara, House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa, Jr. Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, Deputy Speaker Pablo Garcia, Deputy Speaker Lorenzo Tañada, Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II, and 1st district, Negros Oriental Representative Jocelyn Limkaichong.
Other members of the Cabinet, House of Representatives and leaders from the business sectors, civil society partners for the Budget process also attended the event. PND (js)
President Aquino says 2013 General Appropriations Act is designed to create more opportunities for Filipinos to participate in governance
President Benigno S. Aquino III said the P2.006-trillion 2013 General Appropriations Act (GAA) is aimed at pursuing "empowerment" by creating more opportunities for Filipinos to participate in governance.
In his speech during the ceremonial signing of the 2013 GAA held at the Rizal Ceremonial Hall of Malacanang Palace on Wednesday, the Chief Executive said he signed the 2013 national budget which he calls the "2013 Empowerment Budget" in order to fulfill his administration's Social Contract with the Filipino people.
"Noong ika-24 ng Hulyo ng taong ito, isang araw matapos ng aking ikatlong State of the Nation Address, inihain natin sa Kongreso ang panukalang “Empowerment Budget of 2013.” Dinisenyo natin ang Budget na ito bilang instrumento upang maibalik sa mamamayan ang kapangyarihang panghawakan at itakda ang sarili nilang kapalaran," he said.
The President said the 2013 Empowerment Budget was anchored on five principles, namely, greater and deeper commitment to the Social Contract, accelerated completion of priority program targets, stronger government accountability to perform, fiscal transparency for faster and clearer results and deeper participation in public expenditure.
The President assured the Filipino people that every peso of the 2013 GAA spent would be used wisely.
"Sa araw pong ito, hindi lamang natin isinasabatas ang bawat pisong planong gastusin ng pamahalaan sa taong 2013, higit pa sa mga numero’t legal na probisyong nakasaad sa makapal na librong atin pong pinirmahan kanina, paniniwala natin na nakapaloob sa pambansang gugulin na ito ang mga adhikain ng mamamayang Pilipino," he said.
"Ipinagkatiwala ng mamamayan sa atin ang pangangasiwa sa bawat pisong buwis na kanilang pinaghirapan, kaya marapat lamang na gamitin natin ito para sa ikauunlad ng kanilang buhay. Ipinapakita natin sa budget na ito ---nasa poder tayo hindi para atupagin ang pansariling interes, kundi para siguruhing bumubukas ang mga pintuan ng pagkakataon para sa taumbayan, lalo na sa mga nasa laylayan ng lipunan," the President said.
President Aquino also thanked the legislators for their efforts to come out with an improved national budget.
"Ginawa ninyong posible muli ang maagang pagsasabatas sa budget, kasabay ng inyong pagganap sa iba pang mahahalagang trabaho sa Kongreso, kabilang na ang pagpapasa ng Sin Tax Reform, at ang pagtalakay sa Responsible Parenthood Bill. Siyempre po, inaasahan nating lalapag sa aking mesa upang malagdaan ko ang mga batas na natukoy sa lalong madaling panahon, preferably this year," he said.
"Napatunayan po natin ---walang imposible, kung ang tanging isinasapuso natin ay ang interes ng taumbayan. Ngayon naman, sa ikatlong pagkakataon, nasiguro nating muli ang maagang pagsasabatas sa ating budget. Kung sa nakaraang rehimen ay naging kalakaran ang baluktot na proseso ng reenactment, ngayon po, sinasabi natin: posibleng bumuo ng bagong tradisyon ng maagap na pag-aapruba at pagpapatupad sa pambansang gugulin," he said. PND (js)
President Aquino hosts Christmas Party for Metro Manila street children in Malacañang
President Benigno S. Aquino III played Santa Claus to 1,500 street children from Metro Manila by hosting a grand Christmas party at the grounds of Malacañang’s Kalayaan Hall on Wednesday.
The President laid out the red carpet for the street children, aged between six and 16 years old, by providing them with food, drinks and gifts of school supplies, Noche Buena food packs and various footgear, in order to bring the festivity of the Christmas season nearer to them.
In his speech, the President said his Administration was working towards improving the Filipino way of life by providing them, especially children, with opportunities they can take advantage of to bring prosperity into their lives.
He said he did not want the children to experience the dark feeling of despair and the oppressive curtailment of basic rights and privileges he and his family as well as countless other Filipinos experienced during the Martial Law years.
“Ayaw naming maulit pa sa inyo ang dinaanan naming pahirap at pasakit sa mga panahong iyon ... kaya ginagawa namin ngayon ang lahat, hindi lang para magkaroon kayo ng magandang buhay bilang bata kundi upang maitaguyod din ang inyong magandang kinabukasan,” the President said.
“Tinutulungan namin ang inyong mga magulang na magkatrabaho, at arugain ang kalusugan ng inyong pamilya. Gusto naming paunlarin ang inyong kaalaman at magkaroon kayo ng maayos na hanap-buhay paglaki ninyo,” he added.
He said his government has poured in more resources to improve the education system in the country so that children like them can receive decent education that will be their tool to a better tomorrow.
“Kaya tinututukan namin ang mga classroom, textbook at ang buong sistemang edukasyon. Higit sa lahat, nagsisikap tayo para magkaroon ng katuparan at magkaroon ng kabuluhan ang malawakang pagbabago,” the President said.
He stressed it was the obligation of government to leave the state of the country better than it was when he first assumed the Presidency.
“…lahat ng ginagawa namin... hindi naman puro para maisaayos ang lumipas, ang ginagawa natin para maiayos ‘yung maganda at maisaayos lalo ‘yung kinabukasan dahil palagay namin obligasyon na iiwan ng ating bansa na ‘di hamak na mas maganda kaysa sa dinatnan namin,” the President said.
“At kapag ’yon po ay napagtulung-tulungan natin ay palagay ko kumpleto na kami at masaya na kami sa aming naging buhay basta kayo po ay umunlad at umasenso,” he added.
Joining the President were Social and Welfare Development Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Soliman, Communications Secretary Herminio “Sonny” Coloma, Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson, Metro Manila Development Authority Chairman Francis Tolentino, Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo, Cabinet Secretary Jose Almendras, Higher Education Chair Patricia Licuanan, Peace Process Chair Teresita Deles and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority Director General Joel Villanueva. PND (rck)
President Aquino presides over the change of command of the Philippine Navy
President Benigno S. Aquino III presided Wednesday the change of command of the Philippine Navy and the retirement ceremony for the outgoing navy chief.
The President led the turn-over of the service to Vice Admiral Jose Luis Alano as the new Flag-Officer-in-Command of the Philippine Navy from Vice Admiral Alexander Pama.
In his speech during the event, the President said he expects Vice Admiral Alano to continue the reforms initiated by Vice Admiral Pama in the Philippine Navy, particularly the thrust to increase the capability of the navy from internal and external threats.
“Ang ganitong uri ng pamumuno ang inaasahan nating ipagpatuloy at higit pang lilinangin ni Vice Admiral Alano bilang bagong Flag Officer-in-Command ng Philippine Navy,” the President said.
The Filipino public expects Alano to defeat the threat of terrorism, to help the country rise from calamities that hit Mindanao, and to fight corruption in the service, the Chief Executive said.
Because of the navy’s dedication to improve itself and prepare the Philippines for future challenges, the President said, every member of the Navy, as well as the entire Filipino nation can now be proud of themselves.
The President praised the Navy for its role in asserting the country’s sovereign rights in the contested West Philippine Sea, the Navy’s dental and medical missions as well as its feeding programs and disaster response initiatives.
To inspire the members of the Armed Forces to do more, the President said, the government allocated more than P28 billion in one year and seven months of the administration for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Modernization Program.
As a result of the increased budget for the AFP, the country was able to acquire Hamilton class cutters: the BRP Gregorio del Pilar and BRP Ramon Alcaraz, and the locally built BRP Tagbanua.
The President noted that with the signing of the New AFP Modernization Act last week, the Philippine Navy could continue to modernize its fleet adding that under the new government's spending plan, it allotted P75 billion in the next five years to modernize the AFP.
According to the President, the government will also continue to provide decent shelter to the members of the police and military noting that by August next year, he expects the National Housing Authority to complete the additional 31,200 houses for police and military personnel.
The government has so far built 21,800 low-cost housing units intended for the police and the military, he said.
Among those who joined the President during the event were Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim, Rep. Rodolfo Biazon, and Philippine Coast Guard Rear Admiral Rodolfo Isoreno.
Born on May 1, 1958, in Quezon City, Alano is a graduate of the Philippine Military Academy Class Matapat of 1979. He has served the military for 37 years.
Among the awards and decorations he has received include three Distinguished Service Stars, an Outstanding Achievement Medal, a Gawad Sa Kaunlaran and a Military Merit Medal with Spearhead Device.
Alano is married to Maria Hildelita, a corporate lawyer. The couple is blessed with two daughters, Maria Gabriela, 13, and Sofia Lourdes, 12. PND (as)