No more underspending in ’15, says Abad
THE DEPARTMENT of Budget and Management (DBM) said yesterday that anemic public spending—which slowed economic growth last year—would be a thing of the past as the government aims to pour more money into vital infrastructure this year.
“Last year’s underspending issue will be addressed by the increase in our infrastructure investments, which is equivalent to 4 percent of our projected GDP [gross domestic product] for this year. Ultimately, we’re targeting an infrastructure spending level of 5 percent by 2016,” Budget Secretary Florencio B. Abad said in a statement.
Abad said it helped that the 2015 national budget was approved as early as December last year, hence there was an earlier release of funding for “massive infrastructure programs” to be rolled out this year.
Under the 2015 budget, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) got the second biggest share among government agencies at P303.2 billion. This year’s DPWH budget posted the biggest year-on-year increase of 37.9 percent from P219.9 billion last year, the DBM noted.
This year, the DPWH will spend P185.8 billion in its bid to finish the construction of all national roads by next year, as well as complete all bridges along national roads within this year.
The national budget would also support public-private partnership or PPP projects such as the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway or TPLEx, Daang Hari-South Luzon Expressway (SLEx) link, NLEx-SLEx connector, Cavite-Laguna Expressway or CALAX, Laguna Lakeshore Expressway Dike, and the Ninoy Aquino International Airport or Naia Expressway, the DBM said.
The Department of Agriculture was also allocated P89.1 billion in 2015 to fund various agricultural infrastructure, including irrigation systems, farm-to-market roads and fishery infrastructure such as fish landings and fish ports, according to the DBM.
The Department of Transportation and Communications or DOTC, meanwhile, has a budget of P59.5 billion this year, up 21.9 percent from last year’s P48.8 billion, to be spent on infrastructure projects such as the P10.6-billion improvement of railway systems and the P15.4 billion allotted to improve a number of airports as well as seaports. Ben O. de Vera
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.