• Bigger budget for economic expansion


    The country’s economic blueprint by the Aquino administration— the 2011-2016 Philippine Development Plan (PDP)—has allotted 26 percent, or P593.1 billion more in budget allocation for economic development this year compared to last year, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said.

    In a statement, Abad said that the government has laid down P593.1 billion from the P2.265-trillion national budget for this year’s economic expansion strategies, which is a 16.5-percent “budget jump” compared to the P509.2 billion in 2013.

    “We’re working toward sustained and inclusive development in the country through bigger investments in key economic activities under the 2014 General Appropriations Act [GAA]. For one, we plan to spend P404.3 billion, or 3.1 percent of the country’s GDP [gross domestic product]for infrastructure development this year, a 37.2-percent increase from last year’s spending level,” Abad said.

    “We will likewise broaden these investments over the next two years, so that infrastructure spending will corner 5.1 percent of the country’s GDP by 2016,” he added, mainly citing infrastructure spending to boost the economy through 2016.

    Abad said that the allocation came from the 2011-2016 PDP where it aimed for “rapid, sustained and inclusive economic expansion” as the Aquino administration exits by 2016.

    Under the 2014 GAA, Abad also said that the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) received P219.9 billion this year for “design, construction and maintenance of national roads, bridges, flood-control systems,” and various calamity-related reconstruction projects, among others, including the strategic support fund (SSF) for public-private partnership (PPP) projects.

    The 2014 GAA is the second-biggest government budget source following the P2.265-trillion 2014 national budget.

    The DBM said that the SSS for PPP projects totaled P4.98 billion for 2014 that would fund the completion of the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Toll Expressway; Daang Hari-SLEX Link Project; NLEX-SLEX Link Connector; Cavite-Laguna Expressway; C-6 Extension (Flood Control Dike Expressway); C-6 Expressway and Global Link (south section); and the Manila North Expressway (segment 10). SLEX is the South Luzon Expressway while NLEX is the North Luzon Expressway.

    The P219.9-billion DPWH fund would also include education department’s Basic Educational Facilities; health department’s Health Facilities Enhancement programs.

    The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) was also allotted P48.89 billion, mostly for improvements of international airports in Bicol, Puerto Princesa, Bohol (Panglao airport) and Laguindingan.

    The P49.89-billion DOTC budget would also include design, construction and maintenance of mass transport systems such as the Light Rail Transit (LRT) Line 1 South and North Extension projects and the LRT Line 2 East Extension project.


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