MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte is hoping to get the Philippines "back on the road" with a proposed P4.506 trillion 2021 budget geared to fund the country's recovery from the pandemic.
The proposed 2021 budget, which is 9.9 percent higher than the P4.1 trillion spending plan for this year, aims to boost government's efforts to respond to the COVID-19 crisis, Duterte said in his budget message to Congress.
"My task and yours at this moment of our history, is to get us back on the road," the President said.
"Now more than ever, the government must assert its role in responding to the threats of this virus and its fallout if it is to make the nation and its economy stronger and more agile," he added.
The country plunged into recession for the first time in nearly 30 years following one of the longest and strictest lockdowns in the world to curb the pandemic even as COVID-19 infections continued to increase.
Under the proposed 2021 budget, Duterte's "Build, Build, Build" infrastructure program will get a P1.107 trillion allocation in the hopes that it could spur over 200,000 jobs as the crisis has left millions jobless.
To address the health crisis, the government is alloting P212.4 billion to upgrade the healthcare system.
Some P117.8 billion will be allocated to the agriculture sector to modernize food production and ensure security.
Support for micro, small, and medium enterprises is valued at P2.3 billion.
"We will have to reset our policies, rethink the way we govern under this new phenomenon that is changing the conduct of daily life, rebound and recover from this pandemic and bring the whole country and our people with us," Duterte said.