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Palace denies 2015 budget gives Aquino “unli pork”

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Budget Secretary Florencio Abad submits the P2.606-trillion proposed national budget for 2015 to Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. Wednesday.

Malacañang on Thursday denied that the submitted 2015 budget proposal will give President Benigno Aquino III “unlimited pork” amounting to at least P607 billion.

Of the P607 billion, P501 billion is for the Special Purpose Funds of the executive branch while P106 billion is for projects that will be nominated by lawmakers.

“Based on established management practice, it is customary that a certain portion of the annual budget is set aside for contingency expenditures that are essentially variable and not amenable to precise determination at the time of budget preparation,” Communications Secretary Sonny Coloma said.

“The national government, perhaps the largest corporation in the Philippines, follows such best practice in establishing the SPF totaling P501 billion,” Coloma added.

The P2.606-trillion budget comprises of

– Social services – P967.9 billion up from P841.8 billion in 2014

– Economic services – P700.2 billion, up from P593.1 billion

– General public services – P423.1 billion up from P362.6 billion

– Debt burden – P399.4 billion up from P377.6 billion

– Defense – P115.5 billion up from P89.5 billion

—Department of Education P365.958 billion

– Department of Public Works and Highways – P300.519 billion

– National Defense – P144.036 billion

– Interior and Local Government – P141.423 billion

– Social Welfare and Development – P108.97 billion

– Health – P102.178 billion

– Agriculture -P88.818 billion

– Transportation and Communications – P59.463 billion

– Environment and Natural Resources – P21.290 billion

– Judiciary – P20.285 billion

House Minority Leader Ronaldo Zamora, however, said the SPF was equivalent to “unlimited pork.”

Zamora said the move promoted political patronage ahead of the 2016 presidential polls, which enables Malacañang to have a tighter grip on Congress.

But House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte denied this, insisting that there will be no post-identification of projects for lawmakers.

“Meaning, their projects would be incorporated in the national budget, not after GAA had been approved,” Belmonte said.

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