Press Release
December 15, 2011

Drilon lauds early signing of 2012 budget

Senate Finance Committee Chair Franklin M. Drilon lauded the early signing of the P1.8-trillion 2012 national budget by President Benign Aquino III in Malacañang today, saying this should fast-track the implementation of the Aquino government's infrastructure and social services programs next year.

"I commend the early enactment of the 2012 budget, the earliest to be passed since 1986, which shows that this government is bent on fast-tracking its infrastructure and social services programs next year as ordered by President Aquino," Drilon said.

Specifically, Drilon added, the early approval of the General Appropriations Act of 2012 would allow Malacañang to promptly start government infrastructure projects as early as January to spur the rapid rehabilitation of farm to market roads damaged by back-to-back natural disasters this year.

"Critical investments aimed at improving much needed social services, supporting economic growth and reducing poverty will now be addressed properly, and in a more transparent manner in keeping with President Aquino's call for a results-focused budget," Drilon added.

President Aquino signed today the proposed national budget for next year, thanking lawmakers for the measure's swift approval by Congress. Aquino said he has instructed government agencies to start implementing bidding of contracts for projects, especially infrastructure.

During the budget deliberations at the Senate earlier, Drilon urged the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to accelerate the implementation of government infrastructure projects in a bid to ramp up domestic economic growth.

Drilon said the slack spending in infrastructure in the first half of the 2011 resulted mainly to a GDP (gross domestic product) growth of only four percent, below the government's estimate of 4.5 to 5.5 percent.

He noted that the Aquino government was criticized this year for its underspending which has caused the contraction of public spending and has affected efforts to achieve the targeted GDP growth. He noted that infrastructure spending was crucial in order to achieve the government's targeted GDP growth for the year.

Drilon said the allotment of more funds for infrastructure in the 2012 budget was needed to generate jobs and pump prime economic activity especially in the countryside, warning that allowing projects lined-up in 2011 to migrate to 2012 because of non-execution would bring "difficulties" economically.

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