Abad: 2013 budget to hit P2 trillion

Abad says the budget for 2013 will include "bigger investments" in infrastructure, as well as increases in funding for economic and social services

MANILA, Philippines – Budget secretary Florencio Abad on Tuesday, June 12, told reporters that the national budget could hit P2 trillion for the first time in 2013.

Key items to be funded by the budget for 2013, according to Abad, include “bigger investments” in infrastructure, as well as increases in funding for economic and social services.  

Roads, electrification

“We are going to close, finish the arterial national roads and bridges by the end of 2014,” Abad added, noting “malaki investment natin sa infra.” (We are investing a lot on infrastructure)

Economic services like rural electrification, irrigation, roads and bridges, will likewise get a boost according to Abad.

Cash transfer, Philhealth, classrooms

Funding will likewise be increased for key social services. 

Abad said budget for the administration’s conditional cash transfer program will increase to include an additional 500,000 beneficiaries. 

Significant investments will likewise be made in education, according to Abad. “By the end of 2013 we hope to close the classroom gap of 65,000. We are going to add about 25,000 more classrooms next year and about 63,000 teachers.”

Abad also expressed hopes that Congress will pass the sin tax bill, the proceeds of which will go to Philhealth premium subsidies for poor families. 

“If we pass the sin tax and we are able to amend the Philhealth law, we should be able to cover quintile 1 and quintile 2 poor families, which will increase the Philhealth premium subsidy from 13 to about 26 billion,” said Abad.

Budget financing

Bulk of the 2013 budget, according to Abad, will be funded through revenues. “I think about 2% will be debt, 2% of GDP.”

Details of the budget are still being discussed by the Development Budget Coordinating Committee (DBCC), Abad said. 

“We are still going to meet this week, (for) the DBCC to review the macroeconomic assumptions,” Abad told reporters. – Rappler.com

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