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Job creation is focus of 2014 budget PNoy will submit to Congress


(Updated 4:09 p.m.) Stung by criticism of the nation's "jobless growth," President Aquino has approved a P2.2 trillion proposed budget for next year that will promote job creation and "inclusive growth," a favorite theme of his economic planners.

Communications Strategy Secretary Ricky Carandang said Aquino green-lighted the 2014 spending plan after a meeting with his Cabinet on Wednesday night.

In a text message, Carandang said Aquino approved the 2014 spending plan "subject to some minor adjustments." Carandang did not specify these "adjustments."

"We are enhancing social protections and creating opportunities for employment by focusing on job generating sectors like manufacturing, tourism, infrastructure, and agriculture, among others," Carandang said.

Budget Secretary Florencio Abad earlier said the 2014 budget may reach P2.268 trillion, which is 13 percent higher than last year's budget.

'Stressful task'
 
In a speech on Thursday morning, Aquino described the Cabinet deliberations on the proposed 2014 budget as a "stressful task."
 
"I have been busy finalizing the national budget, where we are laying out the priorities for next year, and even beyond. Every line must be thoroughly scrutinized before the entire document is submitted to Congress," the President said during the visit of foreign dignitaries in Malacañang.
 
He even quipped that he might look like someone who was "victimized by jetlag" during the formal event, since the Cabinet meeting on the 2014 spending plan ended just before midnight on Wednesday.
 
According to the Department of Budget and Management's National Budget No. 116 issued last February, the Department of Education will get the highest allocation next year, which may reach P255 billion. This is in the 1987 Constitution, which directs Congress "to assign the highest budgetary priority to education."
 
The Department of Public Works and Highways will get the second biggest chunk of next year's proposed budget, with an allocation cap of P189 billion.
 
Other agencies which will receive the highest proposed budgets for next year are the Department of Interior and Local Government (P92.215 billion), the Department of National Defense (P81 billion) and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (P81 billion).

On Monday, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the government is making sure that the proposed budget for next year will reach the country's poorest regions.

The President is expected to submit the national budget proposal to Congress after his third State of the Nation Address on July 22.  VVP/RSJ/HS, GMA News
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