2011 Budget Message of President Aquino

Message
of
His Excellency Benigno S. Aquino III
President of the Philippines
To the Fifteenth Congress of the Philippines
On the Budget for 2011

[August 24, 2010]

 Ladies and Gentlemen of the 15th Congress of the Philippines:

Through the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, I have the honor to submit for your consideration the proposed budget for 2011.

This is the first financial blueprint of my Administration. It has been formulated to turn our vision for social reform into a tangible reality for our fellow citizens.

The Filipino people have placed on our shoulders the responsibility to make their government more responsive to their needs, to reduce poverty and eliminate waste. With the help of Congress, we can harness the restored confidence in our country as a result of this year’s national elections. We have a new mandate from our people. It is now incumbent on all of us to live up to that mandate.

When I accepted our people’s call for me to run for office, I pointed out that the presidency is about the efficient allocation of resources. The call of our times is for reform: to make this possible, we are submitting a budget and corresponding resources to the programs and policies that make real the changes we need to revitalize our economy, while leaving no sector behind.

A CALL FOR GENUINE CHANGE

The P1.645 trillion National Budget we are proposing for Fiscal Year 2011 will be our vehicle to pursue these necessary changes.

Despite the meager increase of 6.8 percent from this year’s appropriations, the proposed budget will nevertheless bring forth vital outcomes that will make a difference in the lives of our fellow Filipinos.

The 2011 National Budget focuses funds where they are most needed and where these will yield the most benefits. We have redesigned the budget to ensure that every centavo will be put to good use. We are seeking new appropriations of P1.0 trillion, inclusive of P66.9 billion of unprogrammed Appropriations.

At the opening of the present session, I said in my State of the Nation Address that the budget will accurately identify problems and will give attention to the right solutions.

We reviewed the crucial programs and projects of major departments aided by the results of empirical studies, observations from the field, and reports from the Commission on Audit (COA).

We arrived at priorities, with the concurrence of my Cabinet, to address critical gaps in social services for the poorest segments of our population.

We made some bold decisions to correct glaring inefficiencies, terminated programs that no longer delivered their intended outcomes, and reduced funding for programs that require redesign.

We fleshed out the use of lump sum funds for greater transparency, and buckled down to working on implementing necessary reforms.

All of this was done to uplift the lives of our countrymen who are in the direst need of government’s compassion and support – the poor, the disadvantaged, the marginalized.

This is a Reform Budget.

To maximize the efficient use of our scarce resources, we are proposing, along with this budget, more stringent measures to be observed in the release of funds. Our goal is to curb inefficiencies and corruption in the disbursement and utilization of public funds.

I ask Congress, as you proceed to scrutinize the details of this proposed budget, to also take a thorough look at its proposed new special provisions. They are meant to ensure that the budget will be used effectively for its intended purposes.

For instance, a special provision is proposed requiring the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) farm-to-market roads (FMRs), for construction by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to be based on a network plan. The plan shall be supported by a construction design submitted by the DA.

We cannot allow inefficiency or corruption to dissipate the limited funds at our disposal. We need every centavo that we can generate to address the many problems that beset our country.

I therefore appeal to the ladies and gentlemen of both chambers of Congress, to join me in putting an end to the wanton waste of our people’s money. By enacting this Reform Budget of 2011, you will not only put your imprimatur on our people’s clamor for genuine change, you will be a mighty ally in instituting reforms.

It is time that we listen to what our people have to say. In our government, responsibility and response-ability must be synonymous. In recent years, there has been increased cooperation between the citizenry and the executive and legislative departments, in the budgetary process. The good will, cooperation, and mutual respect demonstrated by these efforts should be taken a step further.

We need the help as well of civil society, the media, the academe, public servants and private individuals, to track government expenditures. I believe that the responsibility to check where the funds go and how these are spent should not be left to the COA alone. We are all tasked with looking after the public welfare, and this includes prudence and accountability in the allocation and spending of public funds.

Under the concept of responsible budgeting, it is possible to accomplish key programs that will have a significant impact even on a smaller budget.

THE BUDGET AS A TOOL FOR SOCIAL REFORM

Corruption and poverty have hounded us and continue to hound us to this day.

Corruption, based on the estimate of Transparency International, consumes 20 percent of the country’s budget. These are funds that could have been used to build quality classrooms and hospitals, good roads and bridges, or provide more livelihood programs.

In 2011, the budget has been calibrated to target the most problematic areas. It has been focused to where it will have the greatest impact on society.

When funds are limited, it is channeled where support is needed most. Funds, if spread too thinly, cannot yield dramatic results.

Allow me to share with you the ideals and strategies behind our blueprint for change and social reform.

The 2011 Budget Philosophy

The budget proposal that we are submitting mirrors my Administration’s commitment to lift the nation from poverty through honest and effective governance.

In the face of many competing demands for the government to take on specific tasks, and given the tight finances, we had to focus on the core responsibilities of government.

We anchored the crafting of this proposed budget on certain basic principles that we believe will effect the changes our people expect.

Transparency and accountability. Transparency and accountability are the twin pillars of good governance. They make public services – and government itself – more productive.

We will use transparency and accountability as strategies to combat corruption, as tools to achieve better public financial management.

These are the keys to generating confidence in government and regaining the people’s trust in it. These essentials of good governance will also encourage domestic and foreign investments.

Transparency complements accountability. It is easier to hold government and its officials accountable for the use of public funds if there are sufficient, understandable, and accessible data on which the public can assess official performance.

Hence, under the proposed provisions for the execution of the 2011 budget, we will require implementing agencies to publish on their respective websites the status of project implementation and fund utilization. In the case, for example,of the Department of Education’s Government Assistance to Students and Teachers in Private Education (GASTPE), the names of beneficiaries/scholars and participating private schools will be posted on the Education department’s website.

For the 2011 budget, I have tasked the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to gradually transfer some lump-sum budgetary items under the Special Purpose Funds, such as the pension of the retired military personnel, and the Premium Subsidy to Indigents, to the Departments of National Defense and Health, respectively. As the lead agencies of these showcase programs, they are responsible, therefore accountable, for the use of these funds.

I also ordered the DBM to ensure transparency in budget processes through an open information system and information flow by posting all lump sum disbursements, such as those of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), the Calamity Fund, the DepEd School Building Fund/Educational Facilities Fund, and the Internal Revenue Allotment, on its website.

By posting data on releases, beneficiaries and the status of project implementation, the public can easily monitor where and how their taxes are spent. The PDAF will centralize all allocations for members of the Legislature under this fund. It will now include the infrastructure projects to be constructed by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

It is not enough, however, that pertinent budget-related information be posted on websites; it is equally important for the public to be able to understand the data being posted.

Greater public access to this information will be particularly helpful to Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) who are at the forefront in monitoring the budget. It will help them analyze the budget and understand the ramifications of its provisions better.

We see CSOs as our partners in ensuring accountability and transparency in public expenditures. There is an immediate need to define and institutionalize mechanisms for their effective participation in the planning and budgeting processes.

Bias for the poor and the vulnerable. The resources we allocate to address the needs of the poor and the vulnerable must increase. Studies have shown how our country’s per capita growth rates have lagged behind those of our neighbors and how slow our methods on poverty reduction have been.

We have increased the budget for social services to mitigate critical gaps in education, health, social welfare, and housing to ensure that those who have little or none at all will be provided greater means to have a fighting chance to build a better future.

We have designed subsidy programs so that that they reach those who need them most. We have the National Household Targeting System (NHTS) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to identify and locate the 4.6 million households in the country who are poor. We will use this as our central database of our nation’s poor so that direct subsidies for them – DSWD’s conditional cash transfer and rice subsidy, DA’s farm input subsidies, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PHIC) health insurance for indigents – can converge for maximum impact.

We will generate jobs for the poor to uplift their living standards and improve their economic standing.

And, here, lies one of the differences in our current commitment to transform ourselves, our country and people.

From a government that spouts economic growth statistics that the ordinary citizen barely understands, this government – my Administration – will prioritize jobs that empower the people, not just to put food on the table but to provide them with opportunities to rise above poverty.

Fiscal responsibility. In my State of the Nation Address, I mentioned that my Administration will push for the passage of the Fiscal Responsibility Bill.

With the Fiscal Responsibility Bill, we intend to reach an agreement with Congress to reduce the country’s debt to sustainable levels. Its enactment into law, coupled with prudent spending and a better tax effort, will help us contain the budget deficit to 2.0 percent of GDP by 2013. At present, the deficit stands at 3.9 percent of GDP.

We will ask Congress not to pass appropriations measures or revenue-eroding bills without identifying sources of funding or offsetting expenditure cuts. By instilling discipline in the enactment of new appropriations and revenue-eroding bills, Congress will not only prevent the accumulation of unfunded laws, which at present already involve the staggering amount of P104.0 billion, but will also prevent the depletion of the budget. We will be promoting responsive legislation in this manner, too.

It is easy to file – and pass – spending bills, especially those earmarked for populist purposes. However, while such bills garner positive public opinion, in the long run they erode the fiscal situation of the state, and public confidence in government.

What use is a law if it is not put into effect because of a lack of funding?

Public–private partnerships. With so many needs to fill, we are constrained to find new and creative approaches to making ends meet.

We have found the answer.

Public–Private Partnerships (PPPs) are an innovative way to address our long-standing lack of funds.

We cannot rely on public funds alone to spur the country’s growth. We need additional investments from our partners in the private sector. As so many others before us have found and as many others after us must discover for themselves, “working together works.”

Helen Keller was right: “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”

We are, therefore, eyeing more PPP engagements, particularly in infrastructure where investments will yield a multiplier effect. In 2011, the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) will conduct feasibility studies on public-private partnership for its light rail and airport projects as well as for its urban transport program for highly urbanized cities. The DPWH will also do this for roads and flood control projects.

The responsible use of the PPP as a method of funding traditional public works and public services projects will reduce contingent liabilities of government. Providing funds under the DOTC and DPWH budgets as well as in the budget of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) for undertaking feasibility studies on potential PPP projects will strengthen project development.

Despite only a slight increase in the 2011 budget from the 2010 level, we are confident that we will achieve our 7-8 percent growth target for next year. But Public-Private Partnerships must play an active role in stimulating the economy.

Zero-based budgeting. The bedrock principle of this budget is that the taxes paid by the people will be spent for the people.

Upon assuming office, I directed the DBM and all departments to evaluate existing government programs and projects and see if the program objectives/outcomes are being achieved.

This is the essence of the zero-based budgeting approach which we applied both for the remainder of the 2010 and in formulating the 2011 budget – to ascertain the continued relevance of ongoing programs, prioritize key projects, and justify the need for funding, i.e., that programs/projects have an impact on the welfare of the people and the economy – as opposed to the traditional practice of incremental budgeting which relies on automatic increases or augmenting the previous budget.

Programs and projects that did not perform well over the years and that proved prone to leakages, based on COA reports and other studies, were overhauled or redesigned.

We cannot continue with business as usual. We needed to evaluate not just whether the right things were being done but, equally important, whether these were being done right.

As a result of the zero-based approach, we terminated and cut programs, such as the Department of Education’s Food for School Program, which can be better administered by the DSWD by means of the proper targeting and identification of beneficiaries; the Department of Agriculture’s Input Subsidies, which we found benefitted the rich instead of the poor; and the Kalayaan Barangay Program, which no longer delivered its intended outcomes.

In the case of such programs as the Department of Education’s Textbooks, Teacher Deployment and School Building Construction, and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Training for Work Scholarship, we had to resort to a conditional release of funds pending resolution of bottlenecks in project identification and implementation, and program improvements.

Savings generated from these cuts/reductions were channeled to existing programs that are performing well, such as the DSWD’s Conditional Cash Transfer program, the DepEd’s scholarship program (Educational Service Contracting), and the National Health Insurance Program (NHIP).

These programs have, in fact, been expanded to address the critical gaps in social services, particularly in the areas of education and health. The NHIP, for instance, could, and should, include preventive healthcare insurance under its coverage.

We have likewise rationalized spending of governmentowned and/or controlled corporations, such as the National Food Authority (NFA), to stop the bleeding of government funds due to inefficiencies.

The “buy high/store long/sell low” policy of the NFA for local and imported rice has resulted in huge financial losses for the state. Since 2003, the NFA has been the top subsidized GOCC of the NG to partially cover its losses from trading,and to fund the rice import tariff.

To rectify the situation, we shall undertake several reforms – reduce rice importation, limit the selling of low-priced rice to the poorest of the poor, and push for a Congressional amendment of the NFA Charter to make possible the separation of its proprietary function from its regulatory and buffer-stocking functions.

With zero-based budgeting, we can be assured that we are putting the people’s money to where it ought to be.

The 2011 Budget at a Glance

At P1.645 trillion, our proposed budget for next year is 6.8 percent higher than the 2010 budget of P1.540 trillion. It represents 18.2 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), a bit lower than the 18.5 percent share of the budget this year, indicating a smaller but more efficient government.

This is a prudent level that is intended to bring the deficit down to P290.0 billion, or 3.2 percent of GDP. This will be lower than the budget deficits in 2009 and 2010 of P298.5 billion and P325.0 billion, respectively. The proposed budget assumes revenues of P1.41 trillion, or 15.6 percent of GDP in 2011, and disbursements of P1.70 trillion, or 18.8 percent of GDP, lower than the 19.5 percent this year.

By expense class, current operating expenditures will grow by 8.3 percent from P1.32 trillion in 2010 to P1.43 trillion in 2011, due to the salary adjustments for the 2nd and 3rd tranche implementation of SSL 3 and the increased spending on social services, particularly on education and health, and the expanded coverage of conditional cash transfers.

Capital outlays, however, will decrease by 5.7 percent from this year’s P224.4 billion to P211.6 billion taking into consideration the P41.0 billion Congressional Initiatives incorporated into this year’s budget. The decrease in outlays can be tempered and can be mitigated by our efforts to attract greater public-private partnerships and improve the implementation of government capital projects.

Allocations to Local Government Units (LGUs) will increase to P300.0 billion, slightly higher than the P297.5 billion allocated in 2010. The increase is due to the bigger share of LGUs from internal revenue taxes in 2011.

On the other hand, allocations to GOCCs, in terms of equity and subsidy contribution and net lending, will decrease by 40.7 percent, from P39.3 billion in 2010 to P23.3 billion in 2011, in view of the need to rethink government support of questionable GOCC programs, particularly those implemented by such agencies as the NFA, Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA), Metro Rail Transit Corporation (MRTC), and other GOCCs whose programs/projects are still under evaluation. Reforms in this sector are at hand.

I said this in my State of the Nation Address and I will say it again: we will protect the welfare of our people and look after the interest of the majority.

Consistent with our bias for the poor, the social services sector will be our top priority. It will get a significant portion of the budget, some P560.8 billion or 34.1 percent of the total.

The economic services sector comes next with P361.1 billion, 22.0 percent of the total budget. It is followed by our debt burden, with P372.1 billion (22.6 percent); general public services, with P273.5 billion (16.6 percent); and defense, with P77.5 billion (4.7 percent).

The 10 departments receiving the biggest share of the 2011 budget are the same as in this year’s budget. There are changes, however, in their program composition and ranking.

The Department of Education, with P207.3 billion (including the Educational Facilities Fund) represents 12.6 percent of the total budget, and retains the top position. There has been a sharp increase of 18.4 percent (P32.3 billion) from its budget of P175.0 billion this year, attributed to the construction of 13,147 classrooms and the creation of 10,000 teaching positions. This will be the biggest increase allocated for education in over a decade.

The Department of Public Works and Highways remains in second place, with P110.6 billion, or 6.7 percent of the total budget, despite some P6.9 billion in Priority Development Assistance being taken out from its budget.

The Department of National Defense (DND), third among the top recipients of next year’s budget, gets an increase of 81.1 percent, from P57.8 billion in 2010 to P104.7 billion in 2011. The increase is attributed in part to the return of military pensions to DND’s budget. The Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Program fund of P5 billion is likewise transferred from the Special Purpose Fund to the DND for greater transparency and accountability, and better programming.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) exchanges places with the DND and is now ranked 4th. Its budget increased by 32.6 percent, from P66.5 billion in 2010 to P88.2 billion in 2011. Again, for better programming and accountability, the budget for police pensions has been placed under DILG supervision.

The Department of Agriculture, retaining its position in 5th place, has a slight decrease of 8.5 percent in its budget, from P41.2 billion to P37.7 billion due to the reduction in the allocation for input subsidies (e.g., seeds, fertilizers, farm implements and biologics) for the production of rice, corn, fisheries, livestock and high-value commercial crops with the better targeting of these subsidies.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development jumps to 6th from 8th this year, its budget increasing by P18.9 billion or 122.7 percent, from P15.4 billion to P34.3 billion. The remarkable increase provides for the second phase implementation of the KALAHI-CIDSS Project in 96 municipalities, conditional cash transfers to 2.3 million households, rice subsidy, and pensions for indigent senior citizens.

The Department of Health ranks 7th with P33.3 billion, up by 13.6 percent from the 2010 level of P29.3 billion.

The Department of Transportation and Communications is in 8th place with a budget of P32.3 billion, an increase by 87.8 percent from P17.2 billion in 2010. The additional allocations will go to the expansion of infrastructure activities, particularly for the continued implementation of both North and South LRT lines, and the continuing subsidy to the MRT. Also included in the department’s budget for 2011 are navigation surveillance/air traffic management system and the Laguindingan Airport Development Project.

The budget for the Judiciary also increased to P14.3 billion and will ultimately continue to constitute one percent of the budget after consideration of the other personnel benefits.

On the other hand, the budget of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) decreased by 20.7 percent on account of the transfer of the Tulay ng Pangulo program and its fund allocation to the DPWH.

Financing the 2011 Budget

The collection of revenue is a major requirement for the liftoff of the Philippine economy. Our country direly needs revenues from taxes and other sources to fund our programs for the public welfare. However, we cannot bleed our people any further and add to their suffering and hardship.

It will not be just to impose additional taxes on our people unless we can prove that these will improve the quality of the Filipino’s life.

Collection efficiency, not the imposition of more taxes, will be our main strategy to increase our revenues.

Revenues. We intend to raise some P1.41 trillion in revenues to support our spending program for 2011.

The amount is higher by 8.9 percent than this year’s P1.29 trillion and maintains this year’s revenue effort at 15.6 percent of GDP. The collective tax effort of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the Bureau of Customs (BoC) improving by 0.2 percentage points of GDP in view of several administrative reforms being implemented and technical assistance being received by both agencies.

The attainment of our revenue goal for 2011 is critical. It will test this government’s ability to bring down the deficit to manageable levels over the medium-term, with less or no recourse to the passage of new tax measures.

I believe this can be done. By strengthening our revenue centers, by improving our tax administration, by rationalizing our revenue structure, we will incrementally achieve the collection efficiency we are aiming for.

Tax revenues will amount to P1.27 trillion, almost three-fourths or P940 billion of which will be collected by the BIR, one-fourth or P320 billion by the BoC, and the remaining to come from taxes collected by other collecting agencies.

There was a time when the country achieved a 17 percent  tax effort. We can do it again. With the renewed vigor of our revenue centers, I am confident that we will be able to increase our tax effort from the present 13.9 percent to 15 percent.

The proven track record of our Finance and Justice officials will boost revenue collection, complemented by benefits from the Revenue Integrity Protection Service (RIPS), Run After the Smugglers (RATS), and Run After Tax Evaders (RATE) programs. With a forceful implementation of these programs, tax evasion will become a thing of the past.

From now on, tax-related cases will not only be filed but pursued relentlessly until those involved are prosecuted, the guilty punished, and the government gets its tax dues. We have to enforce the law and, in a manner of speaking, hold people’s feet to the fire.

We will continue to support BIR’s Tax Administration and Computerization Project which has established an Integrated Tax System (ITS) designed to provide a standard processing framework for the Bureau’s tax collection and administration. Some P564 million will be allocated for this purpose.

This amount will be further complemented by the $434 million grant from the US Millenium Challenge Corporation (MCC), part of which will fund the BIR’s Revenue Administration Reform project that seeks to boost revenue collection and reduce corruption through computerization and streamlining of business processes.

We will also invest some P72 million in 2011 in the BoC’s Non-Intrusive Container System Project (NICSP) to raise customs revenues through the efficient scanning of both incoming and outgoing containers and the correct classification and valuation of goods.

We will infuse some P30 million for BoC’s Super Green Lane to fast-track customs clearance of qualified very low risk importers, thereby facilitating trade transactions.

I would like to commend BoC for its plan to conduct profiling per industry to get a clearer picture of the total supply chain of top import products, such as rice, oil, and steel as part of streamlining operations and removing opportunities for graft.

Other sources of financing. Aside from the two largest earning agencies – BIR and BoC – other revenue earners are expected to contribute some P150.0 billion, or about 11.0 percent of the total P1.41 trillion revenue target for 2011.

The amount, P3.3 billion lower than this year’s P153.3 billion, will come from fee-collecting agencies (P66.7 billion), Bureau of the Treasury income (P50.7 billion), and privatization proceeds (P6.0 billion).

Financing the projected P290.0 billion budget deficit for 2011 relies mostly on domestic borrowings (P257.3 billion). The remaining P49.5 billion will come from foreign sources.

The time to tap local markets as source of financing is now, as stable and low interest rates make it attractive for the country to sell domestic debt, reducing our vulnerability to foreign exchange-rate movements. This strategy will also further develop the domestic capital market.

The relative mix of foreign to domestic borrowings can reduce our national debt to 57.0 percent of GDP, slightly lower than the 57.3 percent debt ratio at the end of 2009.

THE BUDGET AS A SOCIAL CONTRACT WITH THE PEOPLE

Our Social Contract with the Filipino People calls for a national leadership that leads by example. The General Appropriations Bill you are called upon to enact is the principal means by which our people’s expectations will be met by government.

Through the budget, we hope to prioritize the needs of the marginalized segments of our society, to restore the people’s trust in government through good governance and other initiatives, to accelerate growth via public-private partnerships, and to promote a sound environment for future generations – today.

It is not enough that we provide for the needs of the poor and the marginalized. We will create opportunities for them. We will enhance practical, efficient approaches to delivering basic services to fill our people’s requirements for education, healthcare, housing, and other socio-economic necessities.

Education is the key to reducing poverty. We will use education as the venue for harnessing our people’s skills and competencies, for building and maintaining national competitiveness. Education must be our central strategy for investing in our people.

Quality education at all levels is our priority. This includes vocational training so that those who cannot pursue higher education, either by choice or by circumstance, can find a dignified livelihood.

But for too long, we have had a shortage of classrooms, school furniture, textbooks, teachers; even a dearth in scholarships, all of which impedes our quest for quality education.

Not anymore. We have raised the budget of the DepEd for 2011 to P207.3 billion. This includes funding for its Educational Facilities Program.

To respond to the acute classroom shortage, we have appropriated P12.4 billion for the construction of school buildings where there are none as well as in typhoon-stricken areas. The allocation is 57.0 percent higher than the P7.9 billion allotted in 2010, to enable us to build more than triple the 6,000 classrooms normally constructed yearly. We will partner with LGUs to build more schools so that we will realize quality education for all.

The quality of education is influenced by the quality of textbooks that our schools provide. We will ensure that our children get better quality textbooks. We have allocated P1.8 billion for the purchase of an estimated 32.3 million textbooks in 2011.

The universal objective of giving children quality education can be achieved if they have motivated and well-trained teachers. We have yet again set aside P1.6 billion in 2011 for the creation of 10,000 teaching positions to meet the ideal ratio of 5:3 teachers to classes. We will involve all stakeholders in the streamlining of hiring procedures to ensure that we have the teachers needed at the opening of classes.

We have allocated P8.6 billion, an increase of 22.9 percent from P7.0 billion in 2010, for scholarship grants, training programs, and student loan programs under the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Department of Science and Technology (DOST), and DepEd to assist in the development of the next generation of business leaders, academicians, medics, and engineers.

Of this 2011 amount, P5.8 billion, or 67.4 percent, will be used to expand the number of GASTPE grantees to 1 million through the Education Service Contracting (ESC) program. The remaining amount will be apportioned to the TESDATraining for Work Program for 50,000 beneficiaries, P700 million; the DOST-Science Education Institute and Philippine Science High School (PSHS) for a total of 15,358 beneficiaries (P1.1 billion); and CHED for its 21,954 scholars (P934 million).

Our objective is that, by 2016, every child completing preschool must be a reader by Grade 1. To support this objective, we have allotted to the Every Child a Reader Program (ECARP) the amount of P21 million for 2011.

We have also increased the appropriation for the mass production of science and mathematics equipment, from P500 million in 2010 to P727.5 million in 2011. The 45.5 percent increase will fund science and math infrastructure in schools that we will build to produce more scientists, technologists, and teachers in our universities to make our country more globally competitive in industry and manufacturing.

Almost half of our high school graduates seek employment rather than pursue higher studies. Therefore, we will reintroduce technical-vocational education (TVE) in our public high schools to better prepare high school graduates for work as workers, craftsmen and technicians in various industries. We have thus provided P734 million for technical-vocational schools.

We are studying the extension of the basic education cycle from 10 years to the global standard of 12 years. The addition of two years of schooling is expected to enrich basic education and enable our children to get into the best universities and, consequently, get the best jobs.

We allocated P23.4 billion to 112 State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) in 2011. This is 1.7 percent lower than the P23.8 billion budget for 2010. We are gradually reducing the subsidy to SUCs to push them toward becoming self-sufficient and financially independent, given their ability to raise their income and to utilize it for their programs and projects.

The CHED, which covers both public and private higher education, will be allotted P1.7 billion. This will be used for research and institutional development; scholarships; and rationalization of programs, standards, and guidelines under the Higher Education Development Fund.

We put importance on the advancement and protection of public health. Equally important is making healthcare services accessible to all.

The budget of the health department climbed by 13.6 percent from P29.3 billion this year to P33.3 billion in 2011 to finance its major programs and projects. The Expanded Program on Immunization, for instance, almost tripled its budget, from P991 million to P2.5 billion to enable the country to move a step closer to meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) of reducing infant and child mortality as well as maternal mortality.

Vaccines are among the most cost-effective interventions to reduce, if not eliminate, infectious diseases. We are putting a significant portion of our budget resources on this immunization program to cover vaccines for measles, neonatal tetanus, Hepatitis B, and hemophilis influenza type B. The program will cover 2.6 million children.

Some 865,950 senior citizens, from 60 to 69 years old, will likewise be covered by the immunization program. They will be given pneumuccocal and influenza vaccines every five years.

To support the reduction of infant and child mortality rates and the maternal mortality ratio, on the other hand, we have more than doubled the allocation for the upgrading of health facilities from its P3.2 billion allocation this year to P7.1 billion next year. Eighty percent or P5.7 billion of this proposed amount will be used for the establishment of 1,278 Basic and Comprehensive Emergency Obstetrics and Newborn Care Facilities.

With these facilities strategically in place, we can encourage more pregnant women to have a facility-based delivery attended by trained health professionals. This will reduce the risk of maternal deaths from a home-based delivery assisted by a traditional birth attendant.

To combat tuberculosis, DOH will utilize more than a billion of its funds for its Tuberculosis Control Program where TB cases in 293,643 adults and 65,000 children will be under the Directly Observed Therapy Short Course (DOTS). As the name implies, the patient’s intake of anti-TB medicine will be supervised or directly observed by a health worker or a trained relative (of the patient) to ensure that the medicine is taken as prescribed.

Aside from TB, other diseases, considered as Public Health Threats (malaria, schistosomiasis, leprosy, filariasis, rabies) have been targeted for elimination by DOH. Some P595 million is provided for this undertaking. Through the zero based approach, we are channeling more funds to the health sector to expand the health insurance coverage of indigents as the more efficient mode of public health intervention. Some P3.5 billion is being provided for the Health Insurance Premium of 4.6 million indigent families, as identified through the DSWD’s NHTS, and for the very first time, 1.4 million households in the informal sector. Small self-employed/underground economy workers will be given preference for this health care benefit.

We will also sustain the provision of low-cost medicines through the establishment of an additional 3,931 Botika ng Barangay (BnB), each BnB to be provided P25,000 worth of medicines. Some P98 million has been allotted for this endeavor as part of the P1 billion allocation for DOH to support the implementation of the Cheaper Medicines Act.

Sufficient and safe water and electricity sources. Whether used for drinking or for some other purpose, water is essential to life.

Based on a 2006 study made by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), only six million of the more than 90 million Filipinos have access to clean drinking water. We have infused some P1.5 billion into the health department’s Potable Water Supply project to combat the ill effects brought about by inadequate access to safe drinking water.

It saddens me that there are those who continue to squander the increasingly limited water resources we have.

Just recently, water shortages and rationing was experienced in some parts of Metro Manila. About 117 barangays in Manila, Caloocan, Pasay, and Muntinlupa were affected. Through quick and decisive action we were able to stem the problem before it became a crisis.

Water resources and development will be a fundamental concern of my Administration. The 2011 budget, in fact, provides some P14.6 billion for the purpose, to include flood control. With this amount, and some P380 million for the water supply projects of the DPWH, we will make sure that the water resources requirements of our people, especially those living in waterless communities, will be met.

We will take measures to provide sufficient electricity for more people.

A total of P1.8 billion is allocated to the power and energy subsector, the bulk of which (78 percent) represents the entire budget of the Department of Energy (DOE).

Some P1.4 billion has been provided to fund DOE’s various programs for attaining energy independence and implementing power market reforms for the country. Included are the Rural Power Project (provision of affordable and reliable energy services in rural areas), and Electric Coop System Loss Reduction Project (promoting the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions, etc. through private investment in electric cooperatives).

For its Household Electrification Program in off-grid areas using renewable energy, the DOE is provided some P117 million to benefit 2,000 households. The program aims to achieve 90 percent household electrification by 2017.

Social protection and safety net for the vulnerable and the poor. We expanded direct subsidies to the poor by supporting with P29.2 billion the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), a poverty reduction and social development strategy that provides conditional cash grants to extremely poor households to improve the health, nutrition and education of family members, particularly of mothers and children.

The allocation is nearly triple the P10.0 billion level in 2010. Of the 2011 amount of P29.2 billion, some P21.2 billion will be set aside for the conditional cash transfers (CCT) to be given to 2.3 million household-beneficiaries, 1.3 million more than the 1 million who benefited from the program in 2010.

In addition, we will allot P881.2 million under the Food-For-Work Program for internally displaced persons. Other social protection programs that we will support are the Supplemental Feeding Program (P2.9 billion), and the Rice Subsidy Program (P4.2 billion). We will also improve centers and institutions geared towards the protection and rehabilitation of women in particularly difficult circumstances.

Over the past six years, the DSWD’s Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (KALAHI-CIDSS) project has provided capacity building, implementation support, and community grants to 4,583 barangays in 200 of the poorest municipalities across the country. Recognizing the importance of this project in empowering poor communities to chart their local development, we are allotting P2.0 billion in 2011 for the second phase of the project under the World Bank to benefit 96 municipalities.

We will provide the vulnerable members of our society preferential access to social assistance. Starting in 2011, we will give a monthly pension of P500 each to 145,150 indigent senior citizens who are 80 years old and above. The assistance amounts to P871 million.

Homes for the homeless and low-income families. It is my Administration’s resolve to provide decent and affordable homes for low-income and homeless families.

Allocation for shelter agencies in 2011 is P5.4 billion, some P275 million higher than the P5.1 billion budget for this year. Of the P5.4 billion, the National Housing Authority (NHA) will corner the largest share with P4.4 billion, or 81.5 percent. The amount represents an increase of 22.2 percent from its present budget of P3.6 billion.

With its 2011 allocation, NHA plans to resettle 16,264 families displaced by typhoon Ondoy; 2,500 families affected by road projects under NLEX Phase 2; and 18,868 families residing in government lands declared as socialized housing areas.

Consistent with our policy to tap the private sector and nongovernment organizations, we will continue to support the Community Mortgage Program (CMP) of the National Home Mortgage Finance Corporation. Funds for the purpose will be increased from P170 million this year to P500 million next year to benefit 20,000 households.

Community based organizations play the lead role under the CMP set-up. The community organization selects the project beneficiary, negotiates with landowners, and collects repayment from its member-beneficiaries.

Land to the landless. Since 1972, a total of 7,558,777 hectares of the distributable 9,044,072 hectares of land have been awarded to some five million agrarian reform beneficiaries.

There is more to distribute under the program.

The P16.7 billion budget of the DAR for 2011 includes P10.2 billion for its Land Tenure Improvement/Land Acquisition and Distribution program. This amount will contribute to the purchase of 300,000 hectares of private and public lands, representing 20 percent of the remaining 1,485,295 hectares of land yet to be distributed.

We hope to substantially accomplish the targets under the CARPER Law by the time it winds down in 2014. By that time also, we will have corrected and rationalized the overlapping functions of DAR, DA, and DENR.

Emergency employment/job generation. I have laid down the key programs to help us get down to business.

Some P6.6 billion has been proposed for the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in 2011.

The amount will be used to fund various critical programs of the Labor department such as the Labor Market Information and Networking Program, P21 million; Capability-Building for Employment Service of Students and Workers’ Income Augmentation Program, P425 million; Employment Placement/Facilitation Program, P300 million.

There will be plenty of employment opportunities for our people in the coming years. The aggressive promotion of tourism activities in the country is generating an influx of tourists that translates into jobs. An allocation of P1.8 billion will be set aside for such activities.

The latest tourist data is encouraging. Tourist volume in the country’s major destinations from January to May 2010 totaled 3.65 million or an increase of 5.4 percent vis-à-vis the same period in 2009. Our Tourism and Labor departments can partner and share the fruits of this bonanza.

Infrastructure projects are another source for generating jobs. For 2011, some P148.2 billion will be set aside as the Infrastructure Program to harness the construction industry to generate employment.

There is a general provision in the proposed National Budget directing infrastructure agencies to require contractors to adopt a labor-intensive mode of implementation of their projects with priority given to the socially and financially disadvantaged residents of the LGUs where the project is located.

Restoring People’s Trust in Government

Corruption has eroded our spirit as individuals and as a people. We have allowed anomalies in the bureaucracy to become the norm rather than the exception. And such has been our despair that for a time we ceased to trust even in ourselves.

We will not allow these things to happen ever again.

We will bring back what we lost – the people’s trust in government and government’s reliance on the people. We owe that to ourselves and to the Filipino nation.

Good governance and anti-corruption initiatives. We will not let corruption consume our people and our people’s future. We will strive to weed it out of government every way we can.

In the past, corrupt governments were overthrown by people power. This time, we will use people power through civil society engagement to conquer corruption.

Civil society and sectoral organizations will not only observe government from a distance. They will be involved in its undertakings, in ensuring that public funds are judiciously utilized. We will empower CSOs by providing them access to information and enabling them to understand how the budget process works.

There is a new provision under the proposed 2011 budget mandating the publication in government websites of information on the status of projects, list of project beneficiaries, and procurement plans of major programs and projects. It was put there to enhance transparency in the use of government funds. This is a necessary adjunct to our efforts to put the entire corpus of government rules and regulations online by means of the Official Gazette (www.gov.ph).

Just recently, a Pera ng Bayan website (www.perangbayan.com) was launched by the DOF to solicit public support of government’s fight against corruption. Through this website, we are providing every citizen who cares to have an alternative avenue to air observations and solutions on public fund misuse.

Lump-sum funds, such as the PDAF, and the farm-to-market roads and irrigation lump-sump, said to be more prone to corruption than most other funds, will be rationalized. The use of these funds will be justified according to master plans and government priority needs to increase effectiveness and accountability, and to reduce leakages.

In the case of the PDAF, we will limit its menu of project options to the Administration’s priority concerns (education, health, social protection, and public infrastructures) to help make this development fund live up to its name and bring sustainable progress, particularly in the countryside.

In line with our effort of rationalizing government funds, a new program dubbed “Performance Challenge Fund (PC Fund)” will be implemented by the DILG to align local development programs and projects with the priority projects of the national government. These projects will focus on the attainment of the MDGs and on the maintenance of core road networks to boost tourism and local economic development. The PC Fund will also be used to help qualified LGUs under the Local Governance Performance Management Program comply with the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010 and with the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.

Some P500 million is provided for this Fund under the 2011 budget. In implementing this financial subsidy, we will give priority to 17 provinces classified as 3rd to 5th class, 27 cities (4th and 5th class) and 243 municipalities (5th and 6th class).

Indeed, good governance comes in many forms and faces. Sometimes, it is just a matter of allocating limited funds for the right undertakings and using these funds properly. And, there is, of course, good governance through responsive and proper budgeting.

Swift and equal justice for all. The Department of Justice (DOJ) is mandated to uphold the rule of law. I have instructed DOJ to be true to its mandate and provide swift and equal justice for all. The department will get a total budget of P7.7 billion in 2011.

To speed up the investigation and prosecution of all criminal cases, full funding support for the creation of additional prosecutor positions and the reclassification of other positions shall be provided. We also granted P10 million to the Alternative Dispute Resolution Program for the same reason – the speedy resolution of court cases.

To promote transparency in DOJ operations, we have allotted P47 million for its computerization program.

A stumbling block to justice for human rights violations is the intimidation of witnesses. In 2009 and 2010, some 95 percent of cases with protected witnesses ended up in convictions. To encourage prospective informants and crime witnesses to come out in the open and testify, we are strengthening the Witness Protection Program with a P151 million budget. The 79.8 percent increase of P67 million from the 2010 level of P84 million will support 640 witnesses and whistleblowers.

We will institutionalize judicial reforms to address the deficiencies in our judicial system. For this, we have allotted P14.3 billion to the Judiciary, a 7.5 percent increase from the 2010 level of P13.3 billion. We are confident that, supported by enough funds, we will be able to solve the extrajudicial killings that afflict our society.

The people’s security and safety is a top priority of my Administration. We will strengthen the police and the armed forces. The P88.2 billion we provided the DILG will enforce its functions on local governance, peace and order, and public safety.

We are strengthening the operations of the Philippine National Police (PNP) with P69.4 billion or 79.8 percent of the total DILG budget. Of this amount, P2.0 billion is allotted for the purchase of equipment for the PNP Modernization Program. To reinforce their present manpower complement, the PNP has been provided some P221 million to hire 3,000 Police Officers. An amount of P100 million will fund the construction of police stations.

There is a need to reinforce the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP). We will spend a total of P1.3 billion for the hiring of 500 Jail Officers, the purchase of 500 short firearms and 500 pieces probaton, as well as funding for subsistence and medicine allowances of detainees.

The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), on the other hand, will get P8.2 billion. Of the said amount, P138 million will be for the salaries and allowances of 500 Fire Officers who will be hired, as well as for the acquisition of firefighting gear.

Of the P1.1 billion total budget of the Philippine Public Safety College (PPSC), some P119 million will be spent on the mandatory training of new recruits of the PNP, BFP, and BJMP. The Local Government Academy (LGA) will train 3,163 newly elected barangay officials of 4th to 6th class municipalities on competencies they need to effectively manage their communities. The LGA will receive the amount of P105 million for this purpose.

Partnering with the DILG in bringing peace and security is the DND with a budget of P104.7 billion. Of this amount, P5.0 billion will be expended for the modernization of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). The Aircraft Restoration Program of the Philippine Air Force will be allotted P130 million to restore the S-211 Aircraft. The Philippine Army will be provided with some P28 million for the upgrading of Trauma Management Infrastructure and Health Services Equipment.

The Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) has an additional budget of P84.0 million for the upgrading of diagnostic facilities; expansion of the Renal Dialysis Unit; rehabilitation of Out Patient Department; allocation for drugs and medicines, including medical and laboratory supplies; and filling up the deficiency in the budget for utilities. Some P458 million will likewise be given to the AFP Medical Center for the increase in supply of drugs, medicines, and medical supplies.

Inclusive, transparent, accountable and participatory peace process. Our government is working on the political settlement of armed conflict. Among these include facilitating the return and rehabilitation of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Mindanao, affirming and strengthening the suspension of military offensives between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), and restarting peace negotiations.

We are committed to a peaceful and just settlement of conflict, inclusive of the interests of all – may they be Lumads, Bangsamoro or Christian settlers. We are providing the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace Process (OPAPP) P236 million to strengthen these peace efforts. Of this, P100 million will be given to the National Unification Program (formerly a special purpose fund).

Accelerating Growth through Public-Private Partnerships

The need to hasten growth cannot take a back seat to addressing the basic social service needs of our countrymen.

We need to modernize our roads, bridges, airports, transportation and communications systems for the efficient movement of goods and people. We need to invest in other critical infrastructure, such as water supply projects and more efficient irrigation systems to increase farm productivity. We need to invest in all these and other market support services if we are to perk up our economy.

Given our very tight expenditure space, however, the government needs to engineer creative strategies in budgeting and governance in order to do more while investing less.

Government’s partnership with the private sector is an option we are looking into. Public-private partnership (PPP) will be developed as an innovative policy tool to put dynamism into traditional public service delivery, particularly for infrastructure. We will make PPP work to create better value for our taxpayers’ money.

Strategic public infrastructure development. Infrastructure has played a major role as a catalyst of growth especially in the tourism and agriculture sectors.

The increase in infrastructure spending in 2007-2009 has been instrumental in assisting the country weather the global crisis better than some of its neighboring countries. The resolution of infrastructure gaps is also critical to the country’s competitiveness.

Not only does the state of infrastructure development create opportunities for growth. Infrastructure also equalizes economic opportunities and access to social services in a manner that significantly reduces poverty.

We will thus pursue a high-level investment in the nation’s infrastructure system that will promote a healthy economy, create jobs, and make the Philippines globally competitive, with poverty reduction as the ultimate goal.  Following the zero based budgeting approach, we have carefully reviewed our infrastructure priorities and zeroed in on the most vital projects for funding in the 2011 budget.

Infrastructure spending for next year will get some P148.2 billion. A big chunk of this total, amounting to P72.0 billion, is for the rehabilitation/ construction of some 2,346 km. of roads. The amount represents a 6.2 percent decrease over this year’s allocation of P76.8 billion.

The two infrastructure agencies – DPWH and DOTC – will get a combined budget of P142.9 billion next year, with the DOTC getting an 88.4 percent increase, from P17.2 billion this year to P32.4 billion.

The increase in the DOTC budget comes from the allocation of some P2.0 billion for the construction of the Laguindingan Airport and some P7.3 billion representing government’s fare subsidy of P47.77 per commuter for the Metro Rail Transit. Another big-ticket item that contributed to the increase in the DOTC budget is the allocation of P2.6 billion for its New Communication and Navigation Surveillance/Air Traffic Management System Development Project.

Projects under road transport services include the routine (30,865 km.) and preventive (732 km.) maintenance of roads costing P16.3 billion.

Revitalization of road systems will underpin the acceleration of economic activity in Metro Manila and serve as a basis for a more vibrant private sector. For this reason, some P11.7 billion will be allocated to DPWH not only to decongest traffic but also to address critical infrastructure bottlenecks along roads and bridges in Metro Manila.

We will continue to support the implementation of both LRT Lines North and South Extension Projects (P4.2 billion) and the MRT (P8.3 billion). We can, however, reduce this support for the LRT and MRT by the National Government, at the same time improve its maintenance, if we share costs with the riding public, gradually increase fares, and explore PPP arrangements in future projects.

We are targeting some P180.0 billion worth of PPP undertakings in 2011 to bridge the gap between the 5.0 percent historical GDP growth rate and the envisioned 7-8 percent growth target. Initially, we are allocating some P15.0 billion in the budgets of the DPWH, the DOTC, and the DA to provide for the catalytic GOP support for these departments’ projects, such as Road Right of Way, land or other infrastructure facilities, etc. to encourage private investors to undertake BOT arrangements with these agencies.

Agri-agra, tourism, and business process outsourcing development. The country’s economic growth is expected to be spurred by food productivity, tourism, and business process outsourcing.

Although food prices have fallen steeply since the financial crisis began at the end of last year, the cost still remains above the long-term average. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warns that this temporary relief to ordinary people must not provide a false sense of security.

We must, therefore, continue to modernize the agriculture sector by investing in agricultural inputs and infrastructure to increase farmers’ income and farm yields and provide food for our people.

Consistent with this goal, the agriculture and agrarian reform sub-sector will be allocated P54.4 billion for 2011, some P37.7 billion, or roughly 69.3 percent of the total, going to the DA.

Agricultural production can only be secured if we increase and intensify crop productivity, expand crop areas, and raise crop diversification. For this purpose, we have set aside some P13.3 billion for the construction, rehabilitation and restoration of irrigation systems covering 183,124 hectares of agricultural land. Our rice target for 2011 stands at 19.4 million metric tons.  We intend to develop farmers’ capacity to increase yield and income. Sustainable rice production will assure us of a 100 percent rice self-sufficiency by 2013.

Tourism impacts on most sectors of the economy.

A robust tourism industry means more sales, profits, jobs, tax revenues, and income in an area or locality and to the country as a whole. The most direct effects occur within the primary tourism sectors – lodging, restaurants, transportation, amusements, and retail trade.

We will promote the Philippines as a prime tourist destination that offers world-class tourist facilities and products through sustainable economic development while protecting and preserving the environment.

Our major concern in the immediate and succeeding years is how to aggressively close the gaps between the state of our existing tourist-related facilities and world class standards for the same facilities. An amount of P1.4 billion for tourism will be provided in 2011 for this purpose.

The amount includes some P500 million for tourism promotional services for both international and domestic tourists.

Also included in the DPWH budget is some P1.8 billion for maintenance of roads in tourism-declared destinations.

Anti-red tape and business facilitation measures. Economic growth will create jobs. But, growth can only be possible if we streamline the processes in our industries and in our systems to make them predictable, reliable, and efficient – therefore, attractive – for those who want to invest in our country.

Our country has to catch up with our Asian neighbors in terms of business competitiveness. If we are to attract investors to support our PPP programs, we have to improve our existing business environment.

For this purpose, some P250 million is allocated to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) for the upgrading of business name registry system/development of ICT facilities aimed at streamlining business procedures. The amount also includes funding the development of an anti-corruption information system and the development of ICT facilities which are at the frontline and back-end services of the DTI.

PPP center and one-stop-shop. Government has a responsibility to create a stable and predictable environment.  Only in such an atmosphere will the private sector flourish as main engine of growth.

Given the constraints in the lack of public funds, we are aggressively pursuing public-private partnerships with a difference. Having learned from our own experiences and those of other countries on how to minimize contingent liabilities, we are now setting up a PPP Center, attached to the NEDA, which will provide technical assistance and help facilitate the development of PPP proposals for high projects.

Through the PPP Center, we will be able to improve the quality of PPPs that will be up for tendering. It will also ensure that the approval process for PPP engagement will be completed within six months, instead of the usual tedious process that sometimes takes years to complete.

The NEDA will be given an additional P50 million for value engineering studies to ensure that projects developed are at the least cost and at the most efficient option. The agency and DOF will also get P5 million and P2 million, respectively,  for capacity-building projects related to Contingent Liabilities Management in PPP projects.

The DPWH and the DOTC will likewise be provided P500 million and P100 million, respectively, for the conduct of their own PPP feasibility studies.

To entice investors into public-private partnerships, we are committed to providing a level playing field for business, thereby ensuring healthy competition.

We will put up client-friendly one-stop shops and convenient information centers for business permit applications and processing.

We will streamline business procedures, including the approval process for business permits, and make them effective, efficient, and graft-free, thus encouraging domestic and foreign investments.

Promoting a Sound Environment Today and for the future

Instead of being the culprits in environmental destruction, let us be advocates of conservation and preservation.

Let us be a government that encourages the sustainable use of resources, a people living in productive, healthy, and safe communities.

Climate change adaptation and mitigation. Climate change is a global environmental problem we have to meet with swift and long-term actions.

To mitigate the effects of climate change and ensure a sound environment for our present and future generations, we have provided the DENR a budget of P13.1 billion for 2011.

Of this amount, P1.3 billion will be used for the reforestation of 52,039 hectares of denuded forests nationwide.  Not only are we going to plant more trees, we will also protect trees from illegal loggers. We will hire 2,220 personnel to guard our forests under the Bantay Gubat Program. Some P80 million has been provided for this undertaking.

We have also provided P39 million to support the National Climate Change Commission to pursue its mandate of monitoring and evaluating government programs and action plans concerning climate change.

Experts predict that storms with extreme rainfall will be more common as the climate heats up.

We have seen such extreme rainfall in recent past. Who can forget the havoc wrought by Typhoon Ondoy? Who can forget the lives that were lost, the damage to properties that reached billions of pesos?

We cannot prevent another Ondoy from coming and devastating our land. But, we can minimize, if not prevent,  losses to lives and properties by being prepared when disasters strike.

Flood control. Some P15.5 billion has been allotted under the proposed 2011 budget for flood control. The amount is 76.1 percent higher than the 2010 allocation of P8.8 billion.

Ninety-seven percent of the said amount will go to DPWH for the construction/rehabilitation of 868,592 lineal meters of flood control (FC) facilities and repair and maintenance of 250,635 lineal meters of FC facilities.

The Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), on the other hand, will use P434 million of its budget for the maintenance, repair, and rehabilitation of flood control-related projects/activities. Of this P434 million, some P50 million will be used for the Urgent Disaster Flood Control Works under the Pasig-San Juan-Marikina River Systems and other areas in Metro Manila, another P58 million for the Flood Control and Drainage Projects in the National Capital Region, and P100 million for Mitigating Flooding at Buendia/South Superhighway area and vicinity.

The MMDA will likewise utilize P519 million of its budget for solid waste management.

For Search and Rescue (SAR) operations, we will provide P1.6 billion to the Philippine Coast Guard for its Maritime Disaster Response Acquisition of Helicopter Project.

TOWARDS THE STRAIGHT AND RIGHTEOUS PATH

There is an old and wise saying, “If you want your child to walk the righteous path, do not merely point the way – lead the way.”

That is what we are doing – leading this government and this nation in the firmest way we can towards genuine change and social reform. We believe that the straight and righteous path, while narrow and difficult at times, is still the shortest and the surest.

This budget holds the basic tenets and elements of our financial development plan that will push our agenda for change. It will guide us in our day-to-day toil to put our envisioned reforms in place.

But, before we can offer this budget plan, this plan for action, to our countrymen, it must pass through the democratic process of deliberation from the two houses of Congress, with the participation of bona fide CSOs.

Ladies and gentlemen of the 15th Congress, in submitting my Administration’s budget proposal for your evaluation and approval, I invite you to scrutinize it, but even as you do so, I ask you to listen with your hearts to the 90 million Filipinos who have waited so long for change.

As a reform budget, the National Budget for 2011 reflects a choice. It may not be an easy one but we believe it is the right – maybe, the only – choice if we are to stay on a responsible, prudent path to economic growth and, yes, opportunity.

By helping our people enjoy an equitable share of the country’s resources, we provide each and every one the opportunity to lead a good though frugal life.

Katuwang ang 2011 badyet, sama-sama nating lakbayin ang landas tungo sa paggugol na matuwid!

Respectfully,

(Sgd.) BENIGNO S. AQUINO III

President of the Philippines

August 24, 2010

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