A BUDGET for real change.
This is how the Department of Budget and Management described the proposed 2017 national budget which it formally submitted yesterday to the House of Representatives.
The first budget under the President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration amounts to P3.35 trillion or about 11 percent higher than the 2016 budget of P3.002 trillion.
In a press conference, DBM Secretary Benjamin Diokno stressed that next year’s budget is transparent and compliant with the two major decisions of the Supreme Court scuttling the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel and Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).
Both PDAF and DAP were declared illegal and unconstitutional by the High Tribunal, forcing the previous administration to stop their implementation.
Diokno denied the reports that pork barrel is back in the form P80 million allocation to each congressman to be used for projects that will benefit their constituents.
“Those are rumors, no PDAF in this budget,” Diokno said.
Diokno stressed that the Duterte administration wants to focus its resources on programs and projects that achieve the country’s 10-point socio-economic development agenda.
“This is my administration’s first budget. It is a budget that gives flesh and bone to the promise by which I won as President – to fight for social justice. It was designed to realize change here and now,” the president’s budget message said.
“This budget is for the people and by the people,” he added.
Of the P3.35 trillion proposed budget for 2017, 40 percent will be for empowering human resources through education, healthcare, social welfare and other social services; 27.6 percent for economic services to fix the broken infrastructure network, boost agricultural and rural sector and generate more jobs and livelihood and 22 percent for general public services and defense.
Diokno said, the DBM is committed to hike infrastructure spending from a low 5 percent to a high of 6 or 7 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) by next year.
The total allocation for proposed budget infrastructure is P860.7 billion or 13.8 percent higher than this year’s budget.
“We have proposed that P355.7 billion of the budget for infrastructure be spent for fixing and building road networks, railways, seaports systems, and airport systems. The infrastructure outlay in 2017 is equivalent to 5.4 percent of the GDP. This would eventually put the Philippines on par with its ASEAN neighbors by the end of this administration,” Diokno said.
The P3.35 trillion are shared by the Department of Education (DepEd), P567.5 billion; Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) P458.6 billion; Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), P150 billion; Department of National Defense (DND), P134.5 billion; Department if Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), P129.9 billion; Department of Health (DoH), P94 billion; State Universities and Colleges (SUCs), P58.8 billion; Department of Trade and Industry, P55.4 billion; Department of Agriculture (DA),P45.2 billion and Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), P41 billion.