• Government to increase infrastructure budget yearly

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    Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said on late Wednesday that the government is confident in achieving infrastructure spending that will account for 5 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) by 2016, as the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) will increase budget for infrastructure until 2015.

    Abad told reporters in a dinner conference that the DBM raised the government’s infrastructure budget to P400 billion for 2014, which accounted for 3 percent of the GDP, compared to the P275 billion in the previous year which took up 2.7 percent of the GDP.

    He added that the DBM is set to appropriate P600 billion for infrastructure in 2015, which would be 4 percent of Philippine GDP, and P836 billion for 2016 which will take up 5 percent of GDP.

    “That is 5 percent by 2016, so why do you think we are able to do this [when]you are not imposing new taxes, not borrowing as much . . . but you increase the infrastructure spending to the level of 5 percent. It was 2.7 percent in 2013, so it means it was much lower before when [the Aquino administration]came in,” Abad said.

    “The problem is the people tend to compare what we are doing to what needs to be done. You also have to look at where we came from,” he added.

    For reconstruction efforts of areas hit by Super Typhoon Yolanda, the Budget secretary said that there was “no issue” in the budgeting and corruption, saying that the issues was the construction of substandard temporary bunk houses for the affected families.

    “The real issue was the alleged substandard [bunk houses]. It wasn’t overpricing . . . but [the overpricing]still has to be looked into . . . and we are currently doing that,” Abad said.

    Included in the 2011-2016 Philippine Development Plan, the government said that it targets infrastructure spending to reach 5 percent of GDP.

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