P3.767 trillion 2018 budget to focus on education, infrastructure – DBM

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Metro Manila (CNN Phillipines, July 14) — Education and infrastructure development programs will be the priorities under the proposed national budget for 2018, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said on Friday.

DBM Secretary Benjamin Diokno said the P3.767-trillion (US$75 billion) 2018 budget, which is an increase of over 12 percent from the 2017 budget, will continue to support the plans of the Duterte administration.

President Rodrigo Duterte plans to submit the proposed 2018 budget to the Congress on July 24, during his second State of the Nation Address, said Diokno in a news briefing by government officials.

The highest budget allocation of P691.1 billion will go to the education sector, with P613.05 billion for the Department of Education, P13.5 billion for the Commission on Higher Education, and P64.6 billion for State Universities and Colleges.

The Department of Public Works and Highways see its 2018 budget rise 37.5 percent to P643.3 billion. This will be used to sustain the 'Build, Build, Build" infrastructure program, improve mobility and connectivity across the entire country, and upgrade the public transportation system.

Diokno said the allocations to education and infrastructire are "consistent with President Duterte's Build, Build, Build program to usher in the Golden Age of Infrastructure in the Philippines and his desire to develop the Filipino youth into an agile, competent workforce for the future."

The departments in charge of the country's safety and public order will also receive a budget increase.

The Department of Interior and Local Government's budget will rise by over 15 percent from a year ago to P172.3 billion in 2018, while the Department of National Defense will see an increase by 5.5 percent to P145.0 billion, he added.

At the same news briefing, Diokno outlined plans for the disbursement of a P20-billion budget over three years beginning 2017 to rebuild Marawi City, the provincial capital of Lanao del Sur which has been destroyed by fighting between the ISIS-linked Maute group and government security forces since May 23.

This story was updated on July 27 to add the breakdown of proposed 2018 national budget.