FUNDS for key infrastructure projects and social services under the 2013 national budget are expected to be released as early as Jan. 2 after Congress’ bicameral committee approved last Wednesday the P2-trillion budget for next year.
Budget Secretary Florencio B. Abad said in a statement Friday that while the President has yet to sign the bill into law, “we commit to ensure that the General Appropriations Act will be signed before fiscal year 2013 starts.”
“Alongside our new policy on early procurement, the early enactment of the (budget) will enable us to issue notices of award for infrastructure and other priority projects and start their implementation on Jan. 2, the first working day of 2013,” he said.
Abad said this would ensure that the higher-than-expected economic growth observed so far this year would be sustained next year.
Last month, the National Statistical Coordination Board reported that the domestic economy grew by 7.1 percent year-on-year in the third quarter, the best performance in Southeast Asia for the period.
“The early enactment of next year’s budget will ensure the immediate mobilization of vital infrastructure projects and the early delivery of much needed education, health and social protection services next year,” Abad said.
He said that the 2013 budget, as approved in Congress, upheld both of Malacañang’s proposed investments in social services and key public infrastructure to drive economic growth as well as measures “we embedded to ensure the transparent, participatory and accountable management of public funds.”
The budget chief noted that the Philippines’s ratings in Transparency International’s yearly Corruption Perception Index jumped by 24 notches to 105th. Transparency International had advised that the latest rankings should not be compared with the previous year’s due to a change in their methodology.