16 Agustus 2016
Armed Forces of the Philippines (photo : Xinhua)
The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) on Monday submitted to Congress the proposed PHP3.35-trillion national budget for 2017, the first under President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration. Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno turned over the General Appropriations Act of 2017, dubbed as “A Budget for Real Change”, to House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and House appropriations committee chairman Davao City First District Rep. Karlo Alexei Nograles at the Speaker’s Hall, House of Representatives in Quezon City.
The 2017 budget is higher by 11.6 percent than the current year’s budget of PHP3.002 trillion. Furthermore, the proposed budget represents 20.4 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) in 2017, higher than this year’s 20.1 percent GDP share.
In his speech, Diokno said that the 2017 budget will focus on programs and projects that achieve Duterte’s 10-point socioeconomic development agenda. Of the PHP3.35 trillion proposed budget, 40 percent will be allotted for social services, 27.6 percent for economic services, and 22 percent for general public services and defense.
He noted that the budgets for the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) were hiked substantially to boost the administration’s war against crime, illegal drugs and terrorism.
PNP will receive PHP110.4 billion, up by 24.6 percent than in 2016, while AFP will receive PHP130.6 billion, 15 percent higher than this year’s.
Diokno also highlighted that the country’s total infrastructure spending for 2017 will increase to PHP860.7 billion, which is equivalent to 5.4 percent of the GDP, noting that the golden age of public infrastructure in this country will be realized by the end of the Duterte administration.
The Department of Education’s budget topped all the government agencies with PHP570.4 billion, a 31 percent hike compared to this year’s budget. This will help sustain the major education reform K to 12 program, in terms of classroom construction, hiring of additional teachers, and providing student assistance.
The health sector is proposed to have an allocation of PHP151.5 billion mainly for the continuation of the Department of Health’s universal healthcare program, as well as ensuring the full implementation of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Law.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development will receive PHP129.9 billion, which includes the PHP78.7 billion allocation for the conditional cash transfers (CCT) for 4.63 million beneficiary-families.
The subsequent budget hearings are set to commence on Aug. 22.