Nograles: 2017 budget marks dawning of new day, greater change for PHL

House of Representatives appropriations committee chairman Karlo Nograles lauded the signing into law of the PHP3.35 trillion General Appropriations Act (GAA) for 2017, thus marking the "dawning of a new day" for the Philippines.

"Today, with the approval of the first full budget of the Duterte administration, we could expect to see a full bright new day ahead for all of us Filipinos," Nograles said in a statement on Thursday.

"The 2017 General Appropriations Act concretizes the President's commitment in bringing meaningful change to the country, as this literally puts money where his mouth is," he added.

Nograles said the approved budget will boost the Duterte administration's relentless campaign against illegal drugs, criminality and terrorism by fully supporting the needs of military and police forces, while funding the establishment of drug rehabilitation centers.

The Davao City lawmaker also highlighted hefty increases in the Commission on Higher Education's budget with some PHP8.3 billion allocation to freely subsidize the tuition fees of students in state universities and colleges.

The government, through the 2017 budget, will also be able to subsidize the irrigation fees of farmers, increase access to free medicines and hospitalization for the poor, he noted.

Nograles said the 2017 budget allows for coverage expansion for PhilHealth over indigent patients, as well as an additional monthly rice allowance for the beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program.

"Government spending will now focus on the actual realization of our people's aspiration not only for a progressive and peaceful nation but real inclusive growth that can actually translate to more jobs, more affordable health care, easier access to free education and decent shelter for the poor and homeless," Nograles said.

"This pro-Filipino budget will truly bring us one step closer to achieving the President's mantra of change. Now we can say that, greater change is coming in 2017," he added.

Source: Philippines News Agency