Duterte to Congress: 2017 budget must be pro-poor

CONGRESS should consider the welfare of the poor in passing the proposed P3.35-trillion national budget for fiscal year 2017, President Rodrigo Duterte said in his budget message.

"Congress must pass laws and scrutinize the budget with the interests of the marginalized in mind," the President said in his budget message addressed to Congress.

Duterte made the appeal in his quest to bring forth his promised "real change" in the country.

The President said the "erosion of faith" of the Filipino people in the government must be addressed.

Duterte added the public sector should bear in mind the basic principle that the Filipinos, through their taxes, "provide the lifeblood of the government" and that they are "the reason for government's very existence."

"Crime and corruption are but symptoms of the breakdown of public trust. And this affects the poorest and most vulnerable among our people," Duterte said.

"To whom else can they run if the government cannot guarantee their most basic right to safety" How can we make them believe that the government exists for their sake if they do not get the services they need?"

The 2017 budget is higher by 11.6 percent from the current year's P3.001 trillion budget.

Huge amount of budget will be apportioned to the departments of Education, Health, and Social Welfare and Development.

Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno said the 2017 budget would support the President's promise in improving the country's infrastructure, investment in human resources, modernization of agriculture and rural development, and developing lagging regions.

"It is a tall order that cannot be fulfilled by one person alone. The bureaucracy must move to effectively implement programs that benefit the poorest," the President said.

"Real change, as I said, begins with us and in us. The first that we must change is the mindset that the power and resources of the offices we occupy are ours to enjoy. Our people expect no less from us," he added. (Sunnex)
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