• Infra spending boosted Q1 growth, DBM claims

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    Government spending, particularly in infrastructure projects, likely provided support for the country’s economy in the first quarter of 2016, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) claimed on Thursday.

    “We should have good first quarter growth bolstered by the high obligation rate of the DPWH [Department of Public Works and Highways] and by election spending,” Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said.

    Philippines gross domestic product (GDP) grew 5 percent in the first quarter of 2015. For full year 2016, government has an official target of 6.8 percent to 7.8 percent growth.

    The DBM reported that the DPWH has obligated 44 percent or P211-billion of its P479-billion allotment, an increase of 12 percent from the 32-percent obligation rate over the same period last year.

    The DPWH has also utilized 98 percent of its cash allocation in the first quarter of 2016,
    resulting in disbursements of P55 billion.

    “We laud DPWH’s successful efforts to ensure the continuity of their projects before the election ban took effect,” Abad added.

    The Budget chief pointed out that these promising figures for obligations and Notice of Cash Allocation utilization rates suggest that public construction will continue to drive growth upwards in the first quarter of 2016 as it did last year.

    “I also want to emphasize that the P205 billion—or 65 percent of the total allotment—was obligated for regional projects before the start of the election ban. This means that DPWH will continue to improve local infrastructure uninterrupted throughout the year,” he added.

    91.8% of agencies budget released

    The DBM also reported that in total, 91.8 percent or P1.49 trillion of the P1.62-trillion total budget for agencies was released in the first quarter of the year.

    This brought total releases to 82.3 percent of the P3.002-trillion national Budget for 2016, representing a 0.7-percent increase over allotment releases over the same period last year.

    “In the coming months, the 82.3-percent figure for total allotment releases over program should increase, as DBM releases NDRRMF [National Disaster Risk Reduction
    Management Fund] for calamities or issue special shares to LGUs [local government units]from national taxes, for example,” Abad said.

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