MANILA (Mabuhay) -– Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Florencio Abad on Tuesday said the proposed Php 2.606-trillion national budget for 2015 will intensify the government’s journey to achieve inclusive and sustained economic growth and to sustain an irreversible good governance reforms.
”Certainly our work is not yet done,” Abad told the Senate finance committee members during the briefing of the Development Budget Coordinating Council (DBCC) on 2015 National Expenditure Program.
Abad said sustaining the economic growth and to make it truly felt by the people is one of the two major challenges that the administration of President Benigno S. Aquino III is aiming to address in its two remaining years.
”The second challenge is how do we sustain and intensify the reforms we have already rolled out,” Abad said.
The DBM chief said remarkable growth must translate into real and tangible benefits for the people specially the poor.
”We have to ensure that public funds go not only to our priority programs for poverty reduction and economic expansion but also on priority localities where the poor are and where we must create more opportunities,” Abad stressed.
Abad told the Senate panel that poverty incidence has reduced to 24.9 percent in the first semester of 2013 from 28.6 percent in the same period in 2009.
On good governance, Abad assured that the 2015 national budget will be spent “within its means on the right priorities and with measurable results.”
”Moreover, to increase public clamor for reforms only tells us that we should continue empowering citizen to increase transparency and accountability and most of all wider avenues for their participation in the budget process,” Abad said.
Under the proposed 2015 national budget, Abad said the government intends to take the performance informed budget “a notch higher” to make sure every peso of the people’s money will be spent for the benefit of everybody.
”At the end of the day, no matter how well we designed our intervention and how sharp we target our beneficiaries, this would be meaningless if these are not felt by our people in an immediate and meaningful manner,” Abad explained.
”This is why we continue to implement reforms through faster spending and more effective service delivery,” he added.
For next year, Abad said the government has dramatically reshaped its budget distribution, allotting Php 967.9 billion for social protection and services, including Php 64.7 billion for the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program to support 4.4 beneficiaries; Php 37.2 billion for 15.5 million PhilHealth beneficiaries; and, P52.7 billion for basic education facilities such as 32.721 new classrooms.
On the job creation and economic expansion, the government has proposed Php 700.2 billion particularly Php 174.5 billion for the roads and bridges program of the Department of Public Works and Highway.
National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Director General Arsenio Balisacan reported that the Philippine economy continued to be one of the fastest growing economies in Asia despite a moderate growth of 5.7 percent in the first quarter of 2014 from a high of 7.2 percent in the same period in 2013. (MNS)