According to Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno, infrastructure and other capital outlays from January to October rose 50.3 percent to P665.1 billion compared to the P442.7 billion recorded in the same period last year.
Miguel De Guzman
Government ramps up infrastructure spending by 50%
Mary Grace Padin (The Philippine Star) - December 13, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Government spending on infrastructure jumped by more than 50 percent in the first 10 months to reach P665.1 billion following the completion of infrastructure projects by various agencies, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) reported yesterday.

According to Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno, infrastructure and other capital outlays from January to October rose 50.3 percent to P665.1 billion compared to the P442.7 billion recorded in the same period last year.

For the month of October alone, capital expenditures surged by 83.4 percent to P94.4 billion from P51.5 billion in the same month in 2017.

Diokno said there was an increase in infrastructure disbursements during the month as the government made payments for completed infrastructure projects.

These include road infrastructure projects of the Department of Public Works and Highways, the Health Facilities Enhancement Program of the Department of Health, the repair of buildings and acquisition of equipment in various state universities and colleges, repair and rehabilitation of school buildings under the Department of Education, and local infrastructure projects in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

According to Diokno, the completion of infrastructure projects remained one of the main drivers of public spending growth in the first 10 months.

Government disbursements from January to October rose by 24.8 percent to P2.796 trillion from last year’s level of P2.241 trillion.

“The year-to-date figures remain impressive. Public spending is up by 24.8 percent in the first 10 months of the year and this is no small feat considering our much bigger budget,” Diokno said.

“More so, the drivers of spending growth remain to be infrastructure and human capital development, ensuring that taxpayer money is well spent,” he said.

Another driver, he said, was maintenance expenditures, which grew 19 percent to P435.3 billion compared to P365.9 billion in the same 10-month period last year.

The budget chief also reiterated that there was no underspending in government, as showed by these figures.

“There is no underspending, as critics falsely claim, and this is validated by the numbers,” he said.

Meanwhile, Diokno said the DBM has already released 96.5 percent or P3.633 trillion of the P3.767-trillion 2018 budget as of end-November.

This leaves P133.253 billion in funds yet to be released to line agencies. The bulk of this amount or P84 billion are Special Purpose Funds, which cover lump-sum allocations for specific purposes.

Going forward, Diokno expressed confidence the government will have a “strong finish” in 2018 in terms of spending.

He said this would translate to better infrastructure, social services, and sustained economic growth.

“Looking ahead, the public sector will continue to buoy the Philippine economy. Faster and more targeted spending will translate to wider roads and better mass transport systems, more accessible education and health services, and overall better standards of living for our people,” he said.

BENJAMIN DIOKNO INFRASTRUCTURE SPENDING
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