Philippine president signs 2016 national budget

Manila, Dec 22 (IANS) Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino III on Tuesday signed a 3 trillion pesos ($63 billion) national budget for next year in a ceremony in Malacanang, the presidential palace.

The 2016 budget is the biggest in the country’s history and 15.2 percent higher than the 2.606 trillion pesos ($55 billion) budget of 2015, Xinhua news agency reported.

Aquino thanked Congress for passing the budget on time for the six straight years.

He said the budget for infrastructure next year would be 5 percent of the country’s gross domestic product.

Of the total budget, the largest portion would go to social services, with 1.106 trillion pesos or 36.8 percent, followed by economic services covering areas such as infrastructure, agriculture, transport and communications, accounting for 829.6 billion pesos or 27. 6 percent.

General public services will take in 517.9 billion pesos or 17.3 percent, while defence and security will receive 129.1 billion pesos which stands as the lowest allocation among sectors at 4.3 percent. Meanwhile, 14 percent of the budget will go to debt interest payment.

Among the agencies, the education department has the biggest budget at almost 437 billion pesos.

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