DBM-proposed P3.767-trillion 2018 budget prioritizes education, infra

July 14, 2017 - 11:20 PM
DBM Secretary Benjamin Diokno (L) is seen in May 2017 file photo, fielding questions at the BusinessWorld Economic Forum. INTERAKSYON FILE PHOTO

MANILA – The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) is proposing a total P3.767- trillion national budget for 2018, with the biggest allocation granted to education and infrastructure development.

The second national budget crafted under the Duterte administration, the 2018 budget represents 21.6% of the projected gross domestic product (GDP) for next year and is 12.4% higher than the 2017 budget which is P3.35 trillion, DBM said in a briefing Friday.

The proposed budget will continue to support the bold plans of the Duterte administration and deliver the change that the President promised, according to Secretary Benjamin Diokno.

Biggest chunk for education, infra devt

The education sector still enjoys the highest budget allocation with a total of P691.1 billion, after the addition of budgets of Department of Education (DepEd) with P613.05 billion, Commission on Higher Education (CHED) with P13.5 billion, and State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) with P64.6 billion. This budget will be used in establishing and maintaining education facilities, hire teaching and non-teaching personnel, and develop and provide learning materials to students.

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and Department of Transportation’s (DOTr) hefty budget of P643.3 billion and P73.8 billion, respectively, will sustain the ambitious infrastructure program “Build, Build, Build”, improve mobility and connectivity across the entire country, and provide modern, comfortable, and affordable public transportation system to all.

Budget hike for DILG, DND

The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) will receive P172.3 billion, 15.4% higher than the 2017 level, while the Department of National Defense (DND) is given P145.0 billion, a 5.5% increase. The budgets for the two agencies will be used to ensure internal security of the country and public order and safety in the communities, as well as hire additional police officers.

The allocation will also be used to modernize the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine Coast Guard. It will also boost the Philippine National Police’s (PNP) law enforcement operations to eradicate illegal drugs and criminality.

Social services: P1.45 trillion

In terms of budget allocation according to sector, social services will remain the top recipient, with P1.45 trillion, or 38.5% of the proposed budget. This reflects the government’s determination to develop the country’s human resources through huge investments in education, culture, manpower, labor protection and healthcare, as well as promote inclusive growth by delivering service to the poorest citizens and to those living in the remotest regions, DBM pointed out.

The economic services sector comes second with P1.15 trillion, 30.6% of the proposed budget. The budget for economic services in 2018 represents a 25% hike over 2017’s P922 billion, reflecting government’s thrust to propel economic growth and provide equal opportunity for all Filipinos, said DBM. The bulk of this sector’s budget will be used in infrastructure development designed to spur economic activity across the country, but most especially in rural areas.