• DPWH gets highest budget hike

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    Abad says infra spending to prop up half of 2015 growth

    THE Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said on Monday that massive infrastructure spending this year is expected to contribute to as much as half of the estimated 7 percent to 8 percent economic growth during the year.

    Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad said that the early enactment of the 2015 budget of P2.606 trillion should help speed up the recovery in public spending.

    Economists have said weak public spending led to slower growth last year.

    In the 2015 national budget, the DBM noted that Department of Public Works and Highways received the second largest allocation and the highest year-on-year increase—P303.2 billion, or an increase of 37.9 percent from P219.9 billion last year.

    The Department of Education gets the biggest slice of the budget at P367.1 billion and the Department of National Defense is third with P144.5 billion.

    Of this total, P185.8 billion will be allotted for the completion of all national roads by 2016 and all bridges along national roads by 2015.

    Infrastructure spending will also get a boost from several major public-private partnership (PPP) projects that will soon begin construction, such as the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Toll Expressway, the Daang Hari-South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) Link Project, the North Luzon Expressway-SLEX Link Connector, the Cavite-Laguna Expressway, the Laguna Lakeshore Expressway Dike, and the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Expressway.

    Meanwhile, the Department of Transportation and Communication has a budget of P59.5 billion—higher by 21.9 percent in 2015 as compared to last year’s budget of P48.8 billion—from which to fund its own infrastructure programs.

    These include P10.6 billion for the improvement of the country’s railway systems (including the rehabilitation and extension of the Light Rail Transit Lines 1 and 2, and the subsidy for Metro Rail Transit 3) and P15.4 billion for various airport and seaport projects.

    Lastly, the DBM noted that the Department of Agriculture has a budget of P89.1 billion for 2015—higher by 11.5 percent compared to its 2014 budget of P80 billion—to address a number of agricultural infrastructure programs.

    With this funding, the agriculture department will be able to construct a number of irrigation projects, farm-to-market roads, and fishery infrastructure projects like fish landings and fish ports.

    “Drafting a national budget that will support our country’s inclusive development means we must not only sustain the rapid growth of our economy but also improve the quality of life for our people,” Abad said.

    “We can do this by creating employment and livelihood opportunities, and by revitalizing employment-generating industries and connecting towns to growth centers,” he added.

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