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Budget preparation for 2017 starts – DBM

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) issued on Thursday, January 21, the budget call for 2017 budget, officially beginning the next budget cycle of the national government.

National Budget Memorandum Numberr 125 contains guidelines and procedures for government agencies in formulating their budget proposals for 2017, and which they will submit to the DBM for review and consolidation.

The document that will be produced from this process will become the general appropriations bill that the next president will submit to the new Congress in July. 

In a press release, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said the guidelines and procedures of the Budget Call "seek to institutionalize the gains of the various Public Financial Management Reforms that the [Aquino] administration has implemented in the past 6 years."

The budget call will follow the Two-Tier Budget Approach that DBM implemented the previous year. Agency proposals for ongoing and existing programs and projects will be evaluated separately from new ones, so as to decongest and systematize the decision-making process. 

Budgetary requirements for ongoing and existing programs are due at the end of the month under Tier 1. Meanwhile, new spending proposals are due in April under Tier 2.

These new proposals will be based on spending areas and strategies to be determined in the Budget Priorities Framework (BPF).

"The BPF will be issued soon in a separate national budget memorandum. It will contain the fiscal space," Abad said.

The fiscal space is the difference between the national budget ceiling and the estimates of how much ongoing projects and programs will cost.

These spending proposals will then undergo scrutiny by the Sub-Committee on Program/Project Appraisal and the Development Budget Coordination Committee (which is composed of the DBM, the Department of Finance, the National Economic Development Authority, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, and the Office of the President). The proposals will be appraised based on relevance, impact, implementation readiness, and sustainability.

"Throught his approach, we are able to identify clearly which projects need to be completed/or expanded. We are able to prioritize projects and therefore maximize the fiscal space," Abad said. 

Infrastructure priority

Among the guidelines of the 2017 Budget Call is for agencies to prioritize funding for strategic local infrastructure projects, such as arterial, provincial roads and bridges, ports, and airports. According to the press release, provincial, arterial, and farm-to-market roads are to get the bulk of infrastructure investment in 2017 as all construction and upgrading of national roads and bridges are set to be completed  this year.

Abad earlier said fiscal transfers to local government units through Bottom-Up Budgeting (BUB) and KALSADA (Konkreto at Ayos na Lansangan at Daan Tungo sa Pangkalahatang Kaunlaran) are to substantially increase in 2017. (READ: Higher budget for provincial roads, infrastructure in 2017 - Abad)

The budget call guidelines also stipulate the following:

To know more about the budget process, check out Rappler's interactive explainer, Slides and Ladders: Understand the budget process. – Gerard Raymond Y. Lim/Rappler.com