P21.3-B DOF budget endorsed for House approval

P21.3-B DOF budget endorsed for House approval

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The House committee on appropriations has endorsed for congressional approval the P21.3-billion budget of the Department of Finance (DOF) and its attached agencies for 2017, which, according to the panel, will help the new administration accomplish its primary objective of inclusive growth as provided for under President Duterte’s 10-point socioeconomic agenda.

House appropriations subcommittee chair Rep. Luis Raymund “LRay” Villafuerte said on Monday that the DOF and its attached agencies, including the Bureaus of Internal Revenue (BIR) and of Customs (BOC) , play “pivotal roles” in helping the Duterte administration implement programs designed to lift 10 million Filipinos out of poverty and transform the Philippines into an upper middle-income country by 2022.

“Funding the budget of the DOF, which is the government’s main agency in charge of revenue generation, is also important in keeping on track the Duterte administration’s long-term goal of eradicating extreme poverty in one generation or by 2040 and making the Philippines a high-income country by that time,”  Villafuerte said in his sponsorship speech.

Villafuerte said on the floor that the total budget of the DOF and its attached agencies for 2017 amounts to P21.301 billion, up by 16 percent from P18.413 billion in last year’s General Appropriations Act.

The period of interpellation on the 2017 DOF budget plan was finished on Monday night.

The budget of the DOF proper notably dropped from P2.6 billion in 2016 to P1.6 billion in 2017, following the cancellation of the plan to build a new building for the Department, Villafuerte said.

As for the DOF-attached agencies, the BIR has the largest allocated budget with the proposed amount of P8.6 billion, which is only 0.5% of its program P1.8-trillion collections in 2017.

The Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) budget, at P6.461 billion, represents an increase of 288% from the previous year’s budget.

This budget increase is the result of the P4.6-billion increase in BTR’s capital outlays, owing to capital subscriptions to foreign financial institutions, including the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).

The proposed BOC budget totals P3.6 billion, which  represents an increase of P990 million or 38% more than its year-ago outlay, and is only 0.8% of the total 2017 BOC program revenues of P467 billion.

The budget of the Securities and Exchange Commission stands at P646 million, representing a slight increase of 2% from the 2016 budget of P635 million.

This budget increase for the SEC is mostly because of the procurement of computer software to support e-government initiatives.

The remaining five DOF-attached agencies — the Bureau of Local Government Finance, the Central Board of Assessment Appeals, the National Tax Research Center, Privatization Management Office, and Insurance Commission — have a combined budget of P387.6 million, representing an increase of P76 million or 24% from last year’s allocation.

Such a budget hike stems from an increase in the outlay for Personnel Services, resulting from the implementation of the second tranche of the Salary Standardization Law.

Villafuerte said in his sponsorship speech that to realize the President’s goal of making growth inclusive as well as investment-led, the government needs to invest massively in infrastructure, education, health, and social services.

“The administration aims to lift 10 million Filipinos out of poverty by 2022, so that our country is on track to eradicate extreme poverty by 2040. When the President’s term ends in 2022, the Philippines will have become an upper middle-income country with a per-capita income of $4,000. In one generation, or by 2040, the country will have become a high-income country with a per-capita income of $12,000,” Villafuerte said.

“We believe that with Congress’s support of the Department of Finance’s budget, we can truly achieve inclusive growth for our country, and fund the President’s social commitments,” Villafuerte added.




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