Planned infrastructure spending shrinks for priority sectors

·2 min read
Workers walk over the newly dried concrete and secure linking steel bars of the 5.58 kilometre elevated highway infrastructure project in Caloocan City, Metro Manila, Philippines on August 2, 2017. Picture taken August 2, 2017. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco
Workers walk over the newly dried concrete and secure linking steel bars of the 5.58 kilometre elevated highway infrastructure project in Caloocan City, Metro Manila, Philippines on August 2, 2017. Picture taken August 2, 2017. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco

The economic team of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has readjusted their infrastructure spending plans for funds to be allocated to priority sectors such as agriculture and health, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) confirmed on Wednesday (August 31).

“This already accounted for the requirements of other priority sectors such as the programs of the Department of Agriculture; the health insurance program of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp.; the rice buffer-stocking program of the National Food Authority; and provision for the national government rightsizing program and higher requirements for the creation and filling-up of positions,” Budget Secretary Amenah Pangandaman said.

This comes after several progressive groups criticized Department of Finance (DOF) Secretary Benjamin Diokno after he said during a meeting with the House Committee on Appropriations that allocating for pandemic-related aid was now “a waste of public funds”, since “we have actually fully recovered.” The finance chief also talked about how the government only had “limited fiscal space”, something that DBM considered for the adjustment.

However, Pangandaman mentioned that Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) will spearhead the financing of infrastructure.

Below is the trend for infrastructure spending.

Data from Development Budget Coordination Committee. Graph by author.
Data from Development Budget Coordination Committee. Graph by author.

Except for his last year in 2028, these adjusted targets remain consistent with what Marcos said during first State of the Nation Address (SONA), wherein he planned to keep infrastructure development spending to 5 to 6 percent of economic output. From 2022 to 2028, infrastructure spending is 6.2 percent at most and 5 percent at least.

The largest adjustment in planned infrastructure spending is for 2023 and 2024, where P100 billion will be appropriated for other purposes.

Mark Ernest Famatigan is a news writer who focuses on Philippine politics. He is an advocate for press freedom and regularly follows developments in the Philippine economy. The views expressed are his own.

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