Gov't to 'spend more' in 2017

The Duterte administration is clearly asking for no ‘change’ in its budget allocation for 2017, which it has dubbed as a “budget for real change”. Totaling P3.35 trillion and reflecting a 11.6 percent hike from the 2016 fiscal appropriation, the proposed national budget for next year earmarks bigger funding for social (e.g., education, health), economic (e.g., agriculture, land), and general public (e.g., public order and safety) services.

The Duterte administration is clearly asking for no ‘change’ in its budget allocation for 2017, which it has dubbed as a “budget for real change”. Totaling P3.35 trillion and reflecting a 11.6 percent hike from the 2016 fiscal appropriation, the proposed national budget for next year earmarks bigger funding for social (e.g., education, health), economic (e.g., agriculture, land), and general public (e.g., public order and safety) services.

The budget appropriated for socio-economic services represents a third of the total proposition for 2017, or P1.135 trillion, reflective of the 10-point agenda set by the current administration early on. Among the government agencies, the Department of Education (P567.6 billion) remains to have the largest allocation, followed by the Department of Public Works and Highways (P458.6 billion), and the Department of Interior and Local Government (P150.1 billion).

Ensuring “competent, healthy, and agile people” and partnering with local government units in development was emphasized in the budget briefing between the Development Budget Coordinating Council (DBCC) and the House of Representatives last August 22. The Duterte administration is also set to spend more on infrastructure projects, an area where the country has been ranked as among the worst in the world.

Meanwhile, figures also ballooned for the Office of the President, in time for the country’s hosting of the Association of South East Asian Nations’s 50th Anniversary. One of the other departments that received increased allotments is the military and uniformed personnel (MUP) sector. The budget spike is seen to beef up the force, provide better compensation, and acquire more guns and patrol vehicles, among others. According to the DBCC, particular attention was given to the MUPs, as peace and order is the so-called bedrock of the administration’s 10-point agenda.

To facilitate these appropriations, the Council also eyes a bigger budget deficit next year, which it deems a necessary investment for the future. In the briefing they also cited sound macro-economic growth, marked by record-high and sustained rises in Gross Domestic Product and benign inflation.

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