The economic team of President Rodrigo Duterte will meet for the first time today to tackle the proposed P3.35-trillion government budget for 2017.
Economic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said the inter-agency Development Budget Coordination Committee would start threshing out the details of the proposed budget for 2017 in line with the schedule to submit it to the House of Representatives on Aug. 25.
“We are going to work on the budget, so we are having a DBCC [meeting] to thresh out the 2017 budget so that it will be ready 30 days after the State of the Nation Address. Sona is July 25 so it should be ready by Aug. 25,” said Pernia, who also serves as the director-general of the National Economic and Development Authority.
DBCC is an inter-agency planning body composed by the Budget Department, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, the Finance Department, Neda and the Office of the President that determines overall economic targets, expenditure levels and budget frameworks.
The Duterte administration earlier pledged to raise infrastructure spending to 5 percent to 6 percent of the gross domestic product, representing about P800 billion to P1 trillion, to resolve traffic congestion in Metro Manila and spread development to the countryside.
“In that budget, we are going to make sure that budget allocations are spent to purposes they are intended and spent quickly and efficiently,” Pernia said.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III told reporters he would propose to increase the government’s budget deficit ceiling to 3 percent of gross domestic product as early as 2016 from less than 2 percent in the previous years.
Dominguez said the higher budget deficit ceiling would be discussed by DBCC.
Pernia said the economic cluster composed of several agencies such the Finance, Budget Trade, Energy, Transportation, Public Works and Tourism Departments would also discuss ways on how to cut red tape and corruption in project approvals.
“In the afternoon, the economic development cluster which comprises several departments, we are going to find ways of cutting red tape in getting projects approved and implemented so that we can get the results, the output and the outcomes of these projects sooner rather than later,” Pernia said.
“So we hope to be able to enjoy the outcomes of these projects even during our term, in the next six years because many of these projects, especially infrastructure projects, take time,” he said.
He said the Duterte administration aimed to “show tangible results already in the first 100 days.”
Pernia said the priority was to address the traffic congestion in Metro Manila
“That’s an urgent agendum and on the part of law and order, President Duterte wants to show some results also within the first 100 days. That there’s improvement and people feel it,” Pernia said.
He said the government also aimed to reduce long queues in getting birth certificates, passports, licenses and other government permits.
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