Philippine president approves $67b budget for 2017

Xinhua | Updated: 2016-12-22 17:20

Philippine president approves $67b budget for 2017

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte gestures as he delivers a speech during an awarding ceremony for outstanding Filipinos and organizations overseas, at the Malacanang Palace in Manila, Philippines, Dec 19, 2016. [Photo/Agencies]

MANILA - Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday signed into law 3.35-trillion-peso ($67.02 billion) "People's Budget" for next year, the first under his presidency.

At a signing ceremony in Malacanang, the presidential palace, Duterte said Republic Act No 10924 or the General Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2017 was "pro-people, pro-investment, pro-growth, and pro-development thrust of the government".

The 2017 budget, so far the biggest annual budget assembled, empowers government agencies by funding expanded and improved social services that will lift Filipinos out of poverty, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said.

The Department of Education receives the highest allocation worth 544.1 billion pesos ($11.09 billion), Duterte said.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development is granted 128.3 billion pesos ($2.57 billion), a significant portion of which is for the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program and monthly rice subsidy for impoverished households.

The Department of Health is given a sizable allocation of 96.3 billion pesos ($1.93 billion) to provide the marginalized sector with new and modernized health facilities and expanded health services.

The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) receives 148 billion pesos ($2.96 billion) budget for 2017 to assist in the country's efforts against illegal drugs, construct new jail facilities, and increase the allowance for prisoners.

Duterte has declared an all-out war against illegal drugs, with the Philippine National Police, which is under the DILG, leading the campaign.

Duterte noted the budget allocation for the Department of National Defense amounted to 137.2 billion pesos ($2.74 billion) for territorial defense, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Modernization Program, and security and stability services.

The president thanked both the Senate and the House of Representatives "for ensuring the careful scrutiny and prompt approval of the national budget".


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