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Duterte to pols: Keep off budget implementation
In his “Budget Action Message” to Congress, the President reminded lawmakers that the executive branch “is responsible in the enforcement and implementation of laws.” “Accordingly, I hereby direct all agency heads to exercise political will and avoid any trace of influence from other branches of government in the implementation of programs, activities and projects,” he said. AP/Bullit Marquez, file photo
MANILA, Philippines – President Duterte has asked government officials and employees to resist meddling by politicians in the implementation of projects funded under the P3.35-trillion 2017 national budget.
In his “Budget Action Message” to Congress, the President reminded lawmakers that the executive branch “is responsible in the enforcement and implementation of laws.”
“Accordingly, I hereby direct all agency heads to exercise political will and avoid any trace of influence from other branches of government in the implementation of programs, activities and projects,” he said.
The message accompanied the 2017 budget, which Duterte signed into law last Thursday.
Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Raymund Villafuerte, an appropriations committee vice chairman, said next year’s spending program would jumpstart the administration’s high-growth agenda aimed at spreading the benefits of a continuously robust economy to all sectors across the country.
“The 2017 budget will serve as the catalyst that would finally spread the benefits of high growth outside imperial Manila and other urban centers, given the huge allocation to local government units (LGUs) of close to P500 billion in Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) and P25 billion in additional funding for infrastructure under the local government support fund,” Villafuerte said.
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The lawmaker said the LGUs’ IRA for next year would amount to P486.9 billion or 13.6 percent higher than this year’s P428.62 billion.
Villafuerte noted that the increase in IRA was much higher than the growth in the budget of 11.6 percent over this year’s level.
“The significant increase in the budget for LGUs best illustrates the Duterte administration’s commitment to its 10-point socioeconomic agenda of spreading growth and creating quality, decent-paying jobs for our countrymen living outside Metro Manila,” he said.
He said the President kept his promise of investing heavily in infrastructure, with an allocation of P860.6 billion for the construction of school buildings, roads, flood control systems, seaports, airports, power supply systems, hospitals, markets and similar facilities.
He said the budget also allocated P45.2 billion to the Department of Agriculture and P9.8 billion to the Department of Agrarian Reform to step up agricultural modernization by supporting farming communities and redistributing land to famers.
Villafuerte recalled that during the budget debates in the House, as appropriations committee vice chairman, he pointed out that the then-proposed appropriations law for 2017 “was meant to begin the process of fulfilling the Duterte administration’s vision to transform our country into a high-growth and high-income economy.”