DBM complies P3.35-T ‘budget for change’ for 2017

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) on Monday submitted to Congress the proposed P3.35 trillion national budget for 2017, which seeks to cement the Duterte administration’s promise of change.

Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno turned over the proposed budget to Speaker Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez and Majority leader Rudy Fariñas at the Speaker’s Hall on Monday noon. The proposed 2017 General Appropriations Act (GAA) was dubbed “a budget for real change.”

The 2017 proposed General Appropriations Act is 11.6 percent higher than the P3.002 trillion national budget this year. The proposed budget also represents 20.4 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), higher than the 20.1 percent GDP share in 2016. According to sectors, at least 40 percent of the proposed budget would go to empowering human resources through education, healthcare social welfare, and other social services; 27.6 percent for economic services to fix the infrastructure network, boost the agriculture and rural sector, and generate jobs; and 22 percent for general public services and defense.

In a statement, Diokno said the budget of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) was substantially increased to support the Duterte administration’s war on drugs, criminality and terrorism. Diokno said the proposed budget for the PNP amounted to P110.4 billion, or 24.6 percent higher than its 2016 budget, for the national police force to hire more personnel, and purchase more guns and patrol vehicles to intensify its suppression of criminality.

Meanwhile, the proposed budget for the AFP is P130.6 billion, or 15 percent higher than the 2016 budget, to complement the AFP Modernization Program, under which P25 billion was allocated to better equip soldiers for counter terrorism. Diokno also said this administration would improve infrastructure building by increasing infrastructure spending to seven percent of the GDP. Diokno said the proposed budget for infrastructure is P860.7 billion or 13.8 percent higher than the budget in 2016.

Diokno said of the infrastructure budget, P355.7 billion was allocated to fix and build road networks, railways, seaports systems, and airport systems. The infrastructure outlay amounts to 5.4 percent of the GDP.

The Duterte administration has also proposed a P31.5 billion budget for the Mindanao Logistics Infrastructure Network, significantly higher than the current budget of P19.5 billion. The education sector remains to have the biggest budget among the sectors, with a proposed budget of P699.95 billion or 20.9 percent of the total budget.

The Department of Education was proposed to have a P570.4 billion budget, or 31 percent higher than the current budget. It also received the highest budget among the government agencies. Of the education budget, the proposed budget for state universities and colleges was higher by 18.3 percent at P58.8 billion, from the P49.7 billion budget this year.

Meanwhile, the Duterte administration has proposed a P120.5 billion budget for agriculture and agrarian reform, which includes the construction of farm to market roads, post-harvest facilities and other infrastructure projects, and the production and marketing of crops, fisheries and livestock.

Meanwhile, the proposed budget for the health sector is P151.5 billion, of which P94 billion is allocated for the universal health program. The proposed health budget also includes P4.3 billion for the full implementation of the Reproductive Health law. The proposed budget for the Department of Social Welfare and Development amounted to P129.9 billion, of which P78.7 billion is allocated for the Pantawid Pamilya Pilipino program (4Ps).

The National Housing Authority was proposed to have P12.6 billion for socialized housing, particularly for the resettlement of informal settlers living in danger zones, as well as housing aid for calamity victims. The Duterte administration also proposed a P5.6 billion budget for electrification – the National Electrification Administration with P1.8 billion for the electrification of 2,410 sitios and 72,300 households, while the National Power Corporation with P2.8 billion for the construction of transmission lines and substations, and repair and maintenance of generating assets in the off-grid areas.

To address natural disasters, the Duterte administration proposed a P37.3 billion National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund. Meanwhile, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources was proposed to have a P29.4 billion budget, 32 percent higher than the current budget.

Diokno said the budget of each department was based on the needs of each government agency. The administration also proposed a budget of P3.56 billion for the newly created Department of Information and Communications to address the slow internet speed and electronic-related crimes, and to mainstream the information and communications technology in schools.

The Department of Science and Technology was proposed to have a budget of P20.8 billion, 14.2 percent higher than the current budget.

H/T: inquirer

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