Duterte repeals Arroyo order on gov't austerity measures

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 19 2017 07:53 PM | Updated as of Sep 19 2017 11:01 PM

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte has repealed an administrative order that former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Arroyo issued 13 years ago directing the adoption of austerity measures in government.

Duterte signed on Tuesday AO No. 6, which repeals AO No. 103 signed by Arroyo in 2004. The order said the administration would maintain prudent use of state funds despite the repeal. 

In signing AO No. 6, Duterte said the country's fiscal condition since the signing of AO No. 103 has "significantly improved."

"With the country's improved fiscal situation, the government could, among other initiatives, increase infrastructure and social spending, implement public expenditure management reforms with greater intensity, streamline government operations, and make public service delivery more efficient in order to give the Filipino people the best value for their taxes," 

Arroyo had issued the austerity order "to meet the country's fiscal targets, maintain its macroeconomic stability, [and] improve investors' confidence."

The 2004 order also mandated government agencies and instrumentalities "to undertake cost-cutting measures... in order to attain a sound budget policy and ensure a balanced budget by 2009."

Repealing the Arroyo order is "aligned with the strategies of the Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022," AO No. 6 read.

This would allow government to formulate and implement "public expenditure management reforms that will improve budget utilization and address underspending of government agencies," it said. 

The order said that despite AO No. 103's repeal, "existing laws, rules and regulations mandating the judicious and prudent use of government funds shall remain in full force and effect."

"[All] agencies and instrumentalities shall continue to ensure that no irregular, unnecessary, extravagant, excessive and unconscionable expenses shall be incurred by the Government," it said.

Early in his term, Duterte had vowed to promote austerity in his administration, starting with his frugal inaugural rites on June 30.