2017 budget priorities: Infrastructure, agriculture, peace and order

Mara Cepeda
2017 budget priorities: Infrastructure, agriculture, peace and order
Social services get the higest allocation at P1.35 trillion, while public order and safety gets P206.6 billion

MANILA, Philippines – The first national budget proposed by the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte showed that it is prioritizing infrastructure, agriculture and rural development, as well as peace and order.

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) on Monday, August 15, submitted to the House of Representatives the proposed P3.35-trillion ($71.97 billion) 2017 national budget, the highest proposed by any administration so far.

This marks the beginning of Congress’ months-long deliberations on the proposed national budget, which the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte dubbed as “A Budget for Real Change.” (READ: 2017 budget will be responsive to people’s needs – Nograles)

The figure is 11.6% higher than the 2016 budget and represents 21% of the projected gross domestic product (GDP) for 2017. 

“I can characterize it as saying we’re putting our money where our mouth is. This budget is consistent with President Duterte’s 10-point agenda. It is a transparent agenda,” said Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno. 

From P758.4 billion ($16.29 billion) in 2016, budget for public infrastructure has increase to P860.7 billion ($18.49 billion) or about 5.4% of the GDP. Agriculture and rural development will be allotted P120.5 billion ($2.59 billion). 

The Duterte administration, which has declared a war on drugs and crime, also wants to give P206.6 billion ($4.44 billion) for public order and safety. 

“My government will double or even triple its efforts to bring drug pushers and crime syndicates behind bars as well as put a stop to terrorism,” said Duterte in his budget message sent to reporters.

The Philippine National Police gets P110.4 billion ($2.37 billion) to hire 10,000 police officers, acquire more guns and patrol vehicles, and finance other activities “for more effective crime suppression.”

The Armed Forces of the Philippines also gets P130.6 billion ($2.81 billion)  to intensify its counter-terrorism efforts. 

The judiciary is allotted P32.5 billion ($698.18 million), equivalent to an increase of 21.5% from 2016. Congress, meanwhile, gets P14.13 billion.

In terms of sectoral allocations, social services get the biggest chunk of the budget at P1.35 trillion ($28.89 billion), followed by economic services at P923.95 billion ($19.85 billion).

General public services – which include allocations for general administration, public order and safety, other general public services, and subsidies to local government units (LGUs) – are to be given P581.84 billion ($12.5 billion). Defense gets P147.76 billion ($3.17 billion).

Like in the previous administration, the Department of Education (DepEd) gets the highest budget among all departments at P567.56 billion ($12.19 billion). 

Below is the DBM’s disaggregation of the 2017 budget:

Expenditure program by sector (in million pesos)

Particulars

Level

FY 2016

Level 

FY 2017

Percent Distribution

FY 2016

Percent Distribution

FY 2017

Economic Services 834,029 923,954 27.78 27.58
Social Services 1,119,812 1,344,807 37.30 40.14
Defense 130,687 147,762 4.35 4.41
General Public Services 497,975 581,835 16.59 17.37
Net Lending 26,500 16,765 0.88 0.50
Debt-Service-Interest Payments 392,797 334,877 13.09 10
Grand Total 3,001,800 3,350,000 100 100

Department allocations

Department Proposed Budget
Department of Education P567,561,234,000
Department of Public Works and Highways P458,610,024,000
Department of Interior and Local Government P150,050,343,000
Department of National Defense P134,542,458,000
Department of Social Welfare and Development P129,911,926,000
Department of Health P94,046,379,000
State universities and colleges P58,811,968,000
Department of Transportation P55,478,192,000
Department of Agriculture P45,291,218,000
Department of Environment and Natural Resources P29,370,429,000
Department of Finance P22,965,314,000

Davao City 1st District Representative Karlo Nograles, chairperson of the House committee on appropriations, reiterated that Congress would pass the budget right on schedule.

“The House of Representatives will not falter in its role in enacting a 2017 budget on time. And with the Speaker [Pantaleon Alvarez’s] support and with the Majority Floor Leader [Rudy Fariñas], and all the members of the supermajority, including the minority, I’m confident that together, as we play our roles as representatives of the people, we will pass a budget that we can all be proud of,” said Nograles.

The House committee on appropriations begins its hearings on August 22. – Rappler.com

US$1 = P46.55

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or tweet @maracepeda.