President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the Department of Budget and Management’s (DBM’s) proposed national budget for 2018, which is 12.4 percent higher than the P3.35 trillion approved budget for the current year.
In a text message, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno confirmed that Duterte, during Monday’s Cabinet meeting in Malacanang, gave the green light for the proposed 2018 budget, which he would submit to Congress before the President would deliver his State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 24.
“Yes, he did. I’m finalizing it now so he can submit the President’s Budget on the day of his SONA, July 24th,” Diokno told reporters on Tuesday.
In a press conference on the same day, Palace spokesman Ernesto Abella said the proposed 2018 budget would be equivalent to 21.6 percent of gross domestic product.
“Very interesting, they said, it’s a budget that reforms and transforms. It covers medium-term macroeconomic assumptions and fiscal targets, key budget dimensions, expenditure priorities,” Abella told reporters.
He said the biggest chunks of the proposed budget would go to the education, public works, interior and local government, health, social welfare and development, agriculture and environment departments.
“The priorities of framework. Number one, to enhance the social fabric to make sure that the entire budget is spent to make and being people-centered, fair, just, and value-based; to reduce inequality; to increase growth potential; to maintain foundations for sustainable development,” Abella said.
“Secretary Ben Diokno rounded up his report by saying, ‘The budget aims for a safer, greener, wealthier, and more beautiful country, making space for the youth, the poor, disadvantaged, and handicapped,'” he added.