2017 budget ‘a budget for real change’, DBM says

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said that the proposed budget for Fiscal Year (F.Y.) 2017, dubbed as "A Budget for Real Change", focuses resources on programs and projects that achieve the country's 10-point socioeconomic development agenda.

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.

Infrastructure

Budget Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno earlier said that the Philippine economy is "deficient in all types of infrastructure." The DBM is committed to hike infrastructure spending from a low 5 percent to a high of six to seven percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) next year. The total proposed budget for infrastructure is P860.7B or 13.8 percent higher than this year's budget.

"We have proposed that P355.7B of the budget for infrastructure be spent for fixing and building road networks, railways, seaports systems, and airport systems. The infrastructure outlays in 2017 is equivalent to 5.4 percent of the GDP. This would eventually make thePhilippinesat par with its ASEAN neighbors by the end of this administration," Diokno said.

The DBM has given the Mindanao Logistics Infrastructure Network P31.5B, higher than this year's allocation of P19.5B, as part of the Duterte administration's promise to pay equal attention to connecting lagging regions with growth centers.

Rule of law

To support the administration's drive against crime, illegal drugs, and terrorism, the budgets for the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) were increased substantially.

The PNP will receive P110.4B, higher by 24.6 percent than in 2016, to hire more policemen, acquire more guns and patrol vehicles, and finance other activities for more effective crime suppression.

Meanwhile, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will receive P130.6B, which is 15 percent higher than 2016, to intensify its counter-terrorism efforts and to protect our borders. The Revised AFP Modernization Program will have P25.0B to give soldiers more weapons and equipment.

According to the DBM, the administration will increase the salaries of the military and police officers by pursuing a law that increases the base pay of uniformed personnel but reforms the pension system of retirees as well.

To declog the courts by creating more Halls of Justice and implementing the Enterprise Information System, P32.5B will be set aside for the Judiciary, which is higher by 21.5 percent than in 2016.

Agriculture

The proposed budget for the agriculture and agrarian reform sector is P120.5B, including Department of Agriculture's (DA) allocation of P45.3B to boost the production and marketing of crops, fisheries, and livestock. Part of the DA's budget is for speeding up the construction of farm-to-market roads, post-harvest facilities, and other infrastructure projects.

The DBM likewise hiked the funding for the National Irrigation Authority (NIA) to P36.4B to build and rehabilitate irrigations systems nationwide, and to subsidize the user's fees that used to be charged to our poor farmers.

Technology and innovation

For its first budget, the Department of Information and Communications (DICT) will receive P3.56B to address ICT matters including internet speed, electronic-related crimes, and to mainstream ICT in schools and manpower development programs, while the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) will be allocated P20.8B, which is 14.2 percent higher than this year's budget. Among the DOST projects included in the funding is the modernization of our weather forecasting capability.

Education

The education sector is proposed to have an allocation of P699.95B or 20.9 percent of the total Budget next year.

The Department of Education's budget will be the highest among all departments with P570.4B, a 31 percent hike compared to this year's budget. This includes the P2.8B estimated allocation for new teachers from the Miscellaneous Personnel Benefits Fund. This will sustain the K to 12 program, construct nearly 37,500 classrooms for K to 12, including those for Senior High School, hire 53,831 additional teachers, and provide assistance to 2.7 million students in private schools.

The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority's (TESDA) proposed budget of P6.9B would support 293,333 enrollees to its Training-for-Work Scholarship Program. Meanwhile, the Commission on Higher Education's proposed budget of P13.4B includes the funding for the expansion of the reach of its student financial assistance programs, and the improvement of its K to 12 Transition Program.

TheStateUniversitiesand Colleges (SUCs) may enjoy a higher budget in 2017 if Congress approves of the proposed P58.8B allocation for SUCs. This amount is 18.3 percent more than the P49.7B this year.

Health

The health sector is proposed to have an allocation of P151.5B. The Department of Health (DOH) will get P94.0B for the continuation of its universal healthcare program. This allocation will, among others, be used to deploy more doctors and health workers to rural areas, and enhance the health facilities such as local hospitals and drug abuse rehabilitation centers.

The proposed 2017 Budget also ensures the full implementation of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Law with a P4.3B allocation.

The PhilHealth will be given P50.2B to sustain the health insurance coverage of about 15.4 million indigent families and 5.4 million senior citizens.

Social welfare and sustainable livelihood

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) will receive P129.9B, which includes the P78.7B allocation for the conditional cash transfers (CCT) for 4.62 million beneficiary-families. It also includes the P23.4B rice allowance for 3 million beneficiary-families.

To support livelihood and employment programs, the Department of Labor and Employment will have an allocation of P13.5B.

Housing

One of the pressing social problems of the country is affordable housing for the poor. The National Housing Authority (NHA) will receive P12.6B for socialized housing, particularly the resettlement of informal settlers from danger zones and housing assistance for calamity victims. The Department of Transportation will be given P7.3B for the resettlement of informal settler families to be affected by the North-South Railway Project.

Energy

To help bring progress to the countryside, the 2017 Budget provides P5.6B for electrification. The National Electrification Administration is provided P1.8B for the electrification of 2,410 sitios and 72,300 households, while the National Power Corporation will receive P2.8B for the construction of transmission lines and sub-stations; and the repair and maintenance of generating assets in the off-grid areas. The Department of Energy, on the other hand, will use P1.0B for the electrification of 190,600 households in off-grid and on-grid areas.

Disaster risk reduction and environmental protection

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund (NDRRMF) will receive P37.3B, while the Department of Environment and Natural Resources will have P29.4B, which is almost 32 percent higher, to help build back our forests, reduce climate risks, and protect the integrity of the environment.

Allocation based on agencies, departments past expenditure performance

Budget Sec. Diokno said that the allocation for each department, agency, and sector was based on their needs.

Source: Philippine Information Agency