(Updated 11:35) President Benigno Aquino III on Wednesday signed into law the P2.006-trillion 2013 General Appropriations Act (GAA) which spells out how government is to spend its money in the coming year.
Despite the busy schedule of the Aquino administration in the run up to the Christmas holidays, the signing of the GAA 12 days before the year ends marks the third time in a row the budget was passed on time.
In his speech after signing 2013 GAA, Aquino commended congress for the work that completed the paper work early and said it benefits the poor – calling Republic Act 10352 the 'empowerment budget.'
“[Naging] posible ang maagang pag-asikaso sa badyet, salamat sa Kongreso. Nasa poder tayo para siguraduhin bumubukas ang pinto ng oportunidad lalo na para sa mga nasa laylayan ng lipunan,” Aquino said.
Aquino also has no direct veto to the 2013 budget, marking the first time in seven years such a feat has happened. Instead, he notes that next year's budget removes obstacles toward reforms.
“Ipinaloob sa budget na ito ang mga reporma para tanggalin ang mga balakid sa implementasyon,” he said. Aquino also called the budget a strengthening of his administration’s social contract with the FIlipino people.
During a bicameral meeting to reconcile the Senate and House versions of the bill, Senator Franklin Drilon cited the minimal differences helped congress toward its speedy approval.
The 2013 budget is 10.4 percent higher than the P1.816-trillion 2012 budget. — VS, GMA News