Gov't outlines budget priorities for next 3 years

By Zinnia B. Dela Peña, The Philippine Star

Posted at Feb 02 2014 10:13 AM | Updated as of Feb 02 2014 06:13 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Aquino government has put in place a budget priorities framework for the remaining three years of its term aimed at accelerating and sustaining economic growth, eliminating poverty and enhancing transparency and accountability.

The national development plan for 2014 to 2016 is designed to address economic constraints and the need for greater state efficiency while building a foundation for faster and inclusive long-term growth.

The budget priorities framework prioritizes measures to build a capable, effective state that delivers quality services while reigniting business investment and growth.

“How we manage our national budget has a precise and definitive impact on the success of our priority programs and projects. If we ensure enough budgetary support to government initiatives that will bring more Filipinos out of poverty—and if we likewise direct more funds to programs that help drive the economy—we can lay down the foundations for and ultimately catalyze inclusive development in the country,” Budget and Management Secretary Florencio Abad said in a statement.

Abad said the plan will guide departments and agencies over the next three years so that the country’s goal of facilitating quick, sustainable development can be fully realized.

“The framework is essentially a blueprint of the administration’s broader strategy to eradicate poverty and further stimulate the economy, all while establishing lasting peace, sound climate change programs and policies, and governance reforms that will firmly stay in place even beyond this administration,” he added.

The framework is also a preface to the 2015 National Budget, for which preparations will soon be underway.

The plan will identify key outcomes that departments and agencies will need to attain as well as geographical focus areas of these strategies so that regions and areas in urgent need of development will be better supported by the national budget.

It will also take into account the impact of recent national disasters on the country’s growth strategy, including Super Typhoon Yolanda.

“Calamities affect not only the local governments and communities that suffered the brunt of the damage, but also the country’s economic soundness and stability,” Abad said.

“The budget priorities framework pays special attention to the setbacks that these disasters present to our pursuit of long-term growth, so we can focus even more intensely on finding solutions that will help us overcome those same challenges. For example, the framework considers the urgent need for a more comprehensive and responsive disaster risk and climate change management strategy, not to mention the immense work ahead of rebuilding and rehabilitating all affected regions,” he added.

“Ultimately, what the framework seeks to produce through the next year’s budget is a robust fiscal plan that will allow more Filipinos to benefit from the economic gains we’ve been making. We’ve achieved so much over the last three years; there’s no better time for us to concentrate our efforts on reducing poverty on a large scale, bringing more jobs to more Filipinos, and beefing up industries that can improve our economic performance.”

Abad pointed out that the framework is “about ensuring a better and more optimistic future for Filipinos, a goal wholly supported by President Aquino’s good governance and fiscal reform agenda.”