MANILA – (UPDATED) President Rodrigo Duterte will submit to Congress on Monday his P3.767-trillion budget for next year to help fund a massive infrastructure overhaul, one of his economic managers said.
Roughly one-fourth of the 2018 General Appropriations Act will be spent on infrastructure, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno told ANC.
It will mark the first time since the Ramos administration in the 1990s that the budget proposal is submitted on the day of the President’s state of the nation address, Diokno said.
“The rationale for submitting on time is to give Congress more time and an early start to approve the budget, which also means an early start for us in the executive,” he said.
Duterte can sign the 2018 budget by November this year once it is approved by lawmakers, Diokno said.
The spending plan for next year is 12.4 percent higher than this year’s P3.35 trillion budget and will amount to 21.6 percent of gross domestic product.
Duterte plans to spend P8-trillion within his 6-year term to build new roads, bridges and airports and usher in a “golden age” of infrastructure.
Diokno said P10 billion was earmarked for the rehabilitation of war-stricken Marawi City this year, on top of the P5 billion already allocated from the 2017 budget.
“If the need arises, we’ll look for additional funds. But as I said, financing follows the plan. Unless we see the plan, we cannot commit additional funding,” he said.
There is also a provision in next year’s budget to give P2,400 monthly to some 10 million households to mitigate the possible effects of the President’s tax reform program, Diokno said.
There is, however, no provision yet for the enactment or implementation of the Bangsamoro Basic Law in the proposed 2018 budget.
“As soon as it’s approved—and I don’t know when it will be approved—we’ll provide for it,” said Diokno.
Duterte received the draft for the Bangsamoro Basic Law last week, and both Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III and House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said they would push for the passing of this bill in their chambers.
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