Diokno: Underspending down significantly in H1

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The Duterte administration’s thrust to ramp up public spending has resulted in much lower state underspending, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno said on Friday.

“For the first half of 2017, spending was almost on the top vis-a-vis the programmed spending. We only underspent by P6 billion for the first half of 2017,” Diokno said during The Manila Times 6th Business Forum at the Marriott Hotel in Pasay.

Secretary Benjamin Diokno of Department of Budget and Management during the Manila Times 6th Business Forum at Marriott grandbalroom in Pasay City. PHOTO BY RUSSELL PALMA

In contrast, he said that previous results — albeit for the full year — was underspending hitting P302 billion in 2014, P328 billion in 2015 and P96.3 billion last year.

“The explanation for this is we changed the rules of the game. Originally, the appropriations had a lifeline of two years. You can take it easy because you will not lose your appropriation,” Diokno said.


Under the Duterte administration however, “they have to spend their annual appropriation this year, not [the]next,” he added.

“The President kept telling us: ‘Spend your budget or lose your job’.”

Department of Budget and Management data show first semester spending at P1.33 trillion, almost P110 billion or 9.0 percent higher year- on-year. Of the total, P249.1 billion was spent for infrastructure and capital outlays.

Diokno noted that this year, government targets to spend P858 billion or 5.4 percent of gross domestic product on infrastructure development this year.

The Duterte administration’s “Build, Build, Build” program was the subject of Friday’s forum, which carried the theme “Philippines 2021: Toward the Golden Age of Infrastructure.

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