THE national budget will grow by 14.6 percent from P3.35 trillion in 2017 to P3.84 trillion in 2018, with a strong focus of fighting corruption to restore the people’s trust in public institutions, the Department of Budget and Management said Tuesday.
In a national budget memorandum dated March 23, the department said the government’s spending level for 2018 is based on such macroeconomic assumptions as seven to eight percent in real gross domestic product or GDP growth, two to four percent inflation and and exchange rate of P48 to P50 to the US dollar.
Based on the budget memo, the government is expected to generate some P2.91 trillion in revenues and disburse P3.44 trillion, incurring a fiscal deficit of P532.5 billion.
The department said the national budget is meant to advance the Duterte administration’s “0 + 10” socioeconomic agenda, as set out in the 2017-2022 Philippine Development Plan.
The memo says the national budget will support the pillars reflected in the PDP, including enhancing the social fabric or malasakit (compassion).
“This social fabric is meant to restore people’s trust in public institutions and nurture trust in fellow Filipinos by ensuring people-centered, clean and efficient governance,” the DBM said.
Aside from intensifying anti-corruption campaigns, the government intends to streamline key processes in the delivery of public goods and services, enhance citizen engagement and empowerment programs and strengthen the civil service.
The government also vowed to pursue “swift and fair administration of justice” by instituting a shift in from a traditional institutions-based approach to a sector-based approach.
It also plans to establish a unified corrections framework and systems covering custody, rehabilitation and social reintegration.
There will also be allocations to promote Philippine culture and values by raising cultural awareness; integrating cultural education and values formation in the basic, technical, vocational and higher education systems; and promoting co-use of existing government broadband-ready assets.
The government vowed that the national budget would “enable ordinary Filipinos to feel real change.”
It will expand economic opportunities in agriculture, forestry and fisheries.
The government would use integrated color-coded agriculture map based on crop sustainability, improve agriculture infrastructure and facilities, increase investments in research and development, reduce the vulnerability of the sector to climate and disaster risk, increase the access of farmers and fisherfolks to agriculture insurance through better information-education campaign and ensure and protect land tenure and security.
It will also expand economic opportunities in industry and services by simplifying the rules and regulations on business registration and licensing, strengthening industry-academe linkages, marketing and promoting Philippine goods and services and addressing infrastructure gaps of the identified priority tourism development areas.
The government vowed to accelerate human capital development by lowering the prevalence of stunting and wasting children, raising the utilization of health insurance, pursuing full implementation of K to 12 program, providing access to globally competitive and relevant TVET opportunities, improving skills-job matching and providing greater access to opportunities for skills development and retooling.
It also aims to reduce the vulnerability of individuals and families by implementing the convergence approach in assisting vulnerable groups to be self-sufficient and self reliant, enhancing the conditional cash transfer program and intensifying social protection programs for overseas Filipinos and their families.