Budget delay kept 420,000 Filipinos poor – economic team

MANILA, Philippines – The budget delay which dragged down economic growth for the 1st quarter of 2019 kept the poorest Filipinos poor, according to President Rodrigo Duterte's economic team.

In a Senate hearing on the matter on Monday, May 27, Socioeconomic Planning Undersecretary Rosemarie Edillon said the budget impasse hurt the government's poverty reduction efforts and kept around 420,000 Filipinos poor. (READ: Winners and losers under Duterte's 2019 budget)

Edillon said the stalled budget caused delays in the implementation of infrastructure projects, which in turn, affected job generation.

The government now has to play catch up and implement Build, Build, Build projects the soonest.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III also said the budget delay showed "how politicking could harm people."

The Philippines' gross domestic product (GDP) grew at 5.6% in the 1st quarter, a 4-year low that missed the revised target band of 6% to 7%.

Dominguez said GDP growth should have hit as high as 7.2%, if not for the budget delay.

Lawmakers fought over alleged insertions in the budget, forcing government agencies to operate under a reenacted budget for 4 months.

Duterte signed the P3.757-trillion budget only in April and vetoed several provisions amounting to over P95 billion. (READ: Davao dominates vetoed P95.37-billion 'pork')

According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, the poverty incidence among Filipino individuals in the 1st half of 2018 was estimated at 21%, while the poverty incidence among Filipino families was estimated at 16.1%. – Rappler.com

 

Ralf Rivas

A sociologist by heart, a journalist by profession. Ralf is Rappler's business reporter, covering macroeconomy, government finance, companies, and agriculture.

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