ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Philippines plans infrastructure budget
"We want to do the bulk of the spending during the first quarter," Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Florencio Abad said.
"Traditionally, the government indeed does the frontloading during the first quarter until the second quarter of the year. We find this quite strategic and advantageous and we intend to do it for the next five years," he added.
President Aquino is scheduled to sign the 2011 General Appropriations Act (GAA) today.
This is the first time in more than a decade that the GAA would be signed into law before the fiscal year starts. The 1999 GAA was signed into law by former President Joseph Estrada on December 30, 1998.
"Upon the signing [of the budget] the President would likewise approve our proposal to do the frontloading as early as January," the DBM chief said.
He said that President Aquino already "agreed in principle" to immediately release the funding for those projects that are critical to start for the season.
"This is an opportune time to build infrastructure since we expect typhoons and heavy rainfall at the end of the second quarter," Abad said.
After the signing, next year's GAA will be published in the Official Gazette for publication compliance.
The DBM chief said the department has been holding meetings with six other agencies that have key infrastructure projects or social protection programs to draw up a budget execution strategy.
These agencies include the Departments of Public Works and Highways, of Transportation and Communication, of Agriculture, of Education, of Health, and of Social Welfare and Development.
"This will ensure that spending on these programs or projects are appropriately timed during the first half of the year," Abad said.
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