Philippines readies P4.3 trillion budget in 2021 with focus on pandemic fight

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 24 2020 01:32 PM | Updated as of Jun 24 2020 01:56 PM

Philippines readies P4.3 trillion budget in 2021 with focus on pandemic fight 1
Residents from Barangay Batasan Hills in Quezon City receive cash under the social amelioration program on May 4, 2020. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News file photo

MANILA -- The Department of Budget and Management said Wednesday it would propose a P4.3 trillion budget for next year to equip the government against the coronavirus pandemic.

The 2021 budget, higher by 5 percent compared to this year, can be submitted to President Rodrigo Duterte by the second week of August at the latest, said Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado.

"Lahat ng ito ay nakatuon sa priorities ng national government in line pa rin with our desire to precisely combat this pandemic," Avisado said in a virtual press briefing.

(All of this is still in line with the national government's priorities and our desire to precisely combat this pandemic)

The executive usually submits the budget proposal to the House of Representatives and Senate days after the President delivers the State of the Nation Address every 4th Monday of July.

For 2021, the budget chief said the Duterte administration would focus on programs that would address unemployment.

The Philippines' unemployment rate in April jumped to a record 17.7 percent or equivalent to 7.3 million jobless Filipinos. The unemployment rate last topped 10 percent in January 2005, when it was recorded at 11.3 percent.

"We will concentrate more on labor-intensive projects and activities to give income opportunities to the most vulnerable and affected sectors and workers," Avisado said.

This year, the government realigned 2020 budget items to fund its coronavirus response. Officials said a supplemental budget this year will require additional revenue sources.