MANILA – The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the Department of Transportation (DOTR) received some of the biggest increases in next year’s proposed national budget, as government aims to bring Philippine infrastructure to the “golden age.”
The government is proposing a P3.767 trillion budget for 2018, which President Rodrigo Duterte will submit to Congress on July 24, when he delivers his second State of the Nation Address.
The spending plan is 12.4 percent higher than this year’s P3.35 trillion budget, and will amount to 21.6 percent of the projected gross domestic product for next year, said Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno.
If the proposal is approved, the DPWH, the department to receive the second highest budget, will get a 37.5 percent increase in funding next year, from the current P467.7 billion to P643.3 billion.
On the other hand, the DOTr, which got the seventh highest allocation in the proposal, will see its budget rise by 32.6 percent, from P55.7 billion to P73.8 billion this year, if the 2018 funding program is approved.
Diokno said the Duterte administration wants swift government spending in 2018 as it looks to sustain economic growth through its massive infrastructure program.
“This budget is consistent with President Duterte’s Build, Build, Build program to usher in the Golden Age of Infrastructure in the Philippines and his desire to develop the Filipino youth into an agile, competent workforce for the future,” he said in a news conference.
As required by the Constitution, the education department was given the biggest budget in the proposal at P691.1 billion, 6.4 percent higher than its P649.5-billion budget this year.
Rounding up the ten departments and agencies with the highest proposed budgets are the Department of the Interior and Local Government (P172.3 billion), Department of Health (P164.3 billion), Department of National Defense (P145 billion), Department of Social Welfare and Development (P138 billion), Department of Agriculture (P54.2 billion), Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (P33.5 billion), and Department of Environment and Natural Resources (P27.9 billion).
In terms of sector, social services will remain the recipient of the biggest budget, amounting to P1.45 trillion, or 38.5 percent of the proposed budget.
A budget of P1.15 trillion, 30.6 percent of the proposed budget, has been allotted for economic services.
The general public services sector got P636.5 billion, while the defense sector received P155.7 billion. Budget for debt servicing, meanwhile, was placed at P370.8 billion.