Sunday, June 16, 2019

Rural infra to get bigger budget chunk

THE economic team of the incoming Duterte administration yesterday announced public infrastructures in rural areas will get the bigger chunk in the 2017 budget pegged around P3.5 trillion.

Incoming Department of Budget Management (DBM) Secretary Benjamin Diokno told reporters in a press conference during the consultative workshop with business community at the SMX Convention Center in Davao City that they want to make sure that the 2017 budget will give bigger share for the small-medium projects around the Philippines especially outside the Metro Manila.

"Of the P3.5 trillion budget in 2017, we intend to set aside some P800 billion to P1 Trillion for public infrastructures which will be scattered around the rural and secondary municipalities," he said.

The 2016 budget is at P3 trillion.

Incoming Finance Secretary Carlos "Sonny" G. Dominguez emphasized that the incoming Duterte administration will prioritize and execute projects outside Metro Manila.

"Most of the underemployed and unemployed population live in the rural areas, that is why public infrastructures, that could generate jobs must be placed there," Dominguez said citing that of the 42 people in the workforce, 5.7 percent are unemployed and 18 percent are underemployed.

"This approach will pave way for our general target which is to trickle down the economic gains to the poorest among the poor sector," Dominguez said.

Diokno added that the public infrastructure must be poured on small and medium projects which are easier to be implemented and is mostly needed by the majority of the Filipinos.

These small and medium projects include Farm to Market road, water facilities, irrigation facilities and school building, among others.

The incoming administration, under its 10-point socioeconomic agenda stated that they will continue and maintain current macroeconomics policies which economic growth and gains will elevate the standard of living and increase poverty rate reduction.

"That is what the outgoing administration failed to do," Dominguez said.
He said the new administration will move away from the chronic under spending that have seen the past few years.

"We will invest in building the infrastructure necessary to make us a 21st century economy: from modernizing our ports to improving our logistical spine to ensuring reliable and cheap power for all the islands," Dominguez said.

Diokno, for his part added that the Duterte administration will not spend money for spending’s sake but will pour to the most in need sector.

Specific infrastructure projects to be pursued by the Duterte government include “small, medium projects that will be done in all regions mostly outside Metri Manila simultaneously, not sequentially.

The budget secretary stressed that he will address the problem on under spending and will put a lot of effort in budget preparation.

“Many programs and projects are included in the annual budget, yet some departments are not ready to implement. They bite more than what they can chew,” Diokno said.

"I will strengthen the project monitoring system.” he added.

With this, Diokno said that they will establish a strong monitoring team in a bid to ensure that project's timeline will be followed.
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