The Duterte Administration will likely delay the submission of the P3.3 trillion proposed national budget for 2017 to Congress in order to review and change its composition, the incoming Budget and Management chief said on Monday.
“For the 2017 [budget], I proposed that we delay a little bit the submission to Congress,” incoming Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Benjamin Diokno told reporters on the sidelines of the first day of the Duterte administration’s consultation workshop with the business community here.
Diokno explained that traditionally, the country’s proposed national budget is presented to Congress right after the State of the Nation Address (SONA) of the President, but the Constitution allows the budget proposal to take place up to 30 days after the SONA.
“So we will use about three weeks or 15 days after the SONA. We have enough time to review the budget to make sure the 2017 budget is President Rodrigo Duterte’s budget,” he said.
Diokno said some of the budget items that will be reviewed include special provisions, the definition of savings, and the bottom-up budgeting program introduced by the outgoing Aquino Administration.
“We will probably stick to the P3.3 trillion total budget but the composition will change,” he said.
Nevertheless, Diokno said that the next administration is confident that the national budget for next year will be passed on time as the Duterte Administration has a supermajority in both houses of Congress.
Diokno said among the priority agencies in the 2017 national budget are the Departments of Agriculture, Social Welfare and Development, Public Works and Highways, Education and Health.
“We are planning to spend as much as 5 percent to 6 percent of gross domestic product for infrastructure. We’re thinking about spending P800 billion to P1 trillion for infrastructure next year.
“We also need investments in human capital very badly, because we have a very young population and we need to invest in education, in health and nutrition so that we can produce a competent and world-class work force,” he added.