April 23, 2018, 7:55 am
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FOR 2018: Budget hiked 15% at P3.8T

The Department of Budget and Management yesterday reported that the government budget for 2018 has been set at P3.84 trillion, up 15 percent from this year’s total.

The budget will be submitted to Congress two weeks before President Duterte delivers his second State of the Nation Address on July 24, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno said. 

Next year’s budget is equivalent to 22 percent of Gross Domestic Product.

The budget will sustain the President’s 0+10-Point Socioeconomic Agenda. 

“While the Agenda is the blueprint in achieving the promise of change and prosperity, the 2018 and future budgets until 2022 are expected to put flesh and blood to this skeletal agenda,” Diokno  said.

Diokno said in his opening remarks at the 2018 Budget Forum that the government plans to invest boldly in infrastructure development to raise productivity, create a lot of decent jobs and attract investors.

“We plan to provide full support to all regions in the country, rich and poor, but most especially to the poorest, lagging, and climate-vulnerable areas, to help them catch up with the other leading regions,” he said.

“We will continue efforts to strengthen the link between planning and budgeting, and streamline the implementation of projects so that our people realize results immediately,” he added.

Earlier, DBM data showed that the Duterte administration will spend P1.2 trillion for infrastructure in 2018, equivalent to 6.8 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). 

The estimate for infrastructure spending next year is 34.57 percent higher than the approved P891 billion budget allocated for infrastructure in 2017 which comprises 5.2 percent of the country’s total GDP.

The DBM previously said  the projected proceeds of the Department of Finance’s proposed comprehensive tax reform package, which is currently pegged at P163 billion, will fund the government’s big-ticket development projects, particularly the infrastructure program. 

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) however earlier said that the non-passage of the entire comprehensive tax reform package will make the 2018 budget “uncertain.”

Ernesto Pernia, socioeconomic secretary, had  said  there should be a balance between reduction of revenue and compensation for the reduction. 

“It will make the 2018 budget difficult (to estimate), as it remains uncertain (if the proposal is not yet passed into law,) so I don’t know the assumptions to apply,” Pernia said.
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