Press Release
November 25, 2016

Duterte administration could spend up to P26.7 trillion in 6 years

The Duterte administration is forecast to spend P26.7 trillion in six years in power, and Senate Minority Leader Ralph Recto wants government to link the rise in expenditures with the decrease in the number of the poor, the hungry and the unemployed.

Recto described next year's P3.35 trillion budget as the "first of six annual installments" the administration will be making in its bid to bring down poverty, hunger and unemployment by 2022.

"In effect, next year's budget is its 15 percent downpayment to achieve these goals," Recto said, in arguing for the use the of jobs-poverty-hunger benchmark in assessing the budget's efficacy.

"So for P3.3 trillion, how many people will march away from the poverty line by December next year? For P3.3 trillion, how many jobs will be created? For P3.3 trillion, how far will the GDP needle move?" he said in explaining how the budget should be viewed.

Recto said if the government plans to liberate 7.1 million Filipinos out of poverty by 2022 from the current 21.9 million, "then it is safe to assume that this budget should be able to take away the first batch of one million poor, or even half of that number, by December next year."

On employment, Recto said the P3.3 trillion budget should be instrumental in meeting the national need for two million jobs a year.

"Between now and 2022, we must be able to create 12 million jobs, or two million a year - quality jobs, hindi yung nagpastol ka ng isang kambing, counted ka na as gainfully-employed unpaid family worker. This underscores the need to attach a job odometer to the national budget," he said.

"Ang tanong: Will this budget indeed be instrumental in generating 2 million jobs by December next year?" he said.

Complicating the hurdles in meeting these goals is the projected 10 million jump in the country's population, from this year's 103.6 million to 114 million in 2022.

"This means there will be 10.4 million more people to be fed, to be sheltered, to be cared for, to be schooled, to be kept safe," he said.

"Sa bigas na lang, kung bawat Pinoy--na halos lahat ay mahilig sa 'unli-rice'--ay kokonsumo ng 114 kilos kada taon, kailangan natin buksan sa irigasyon ang 475,000 hectares of land, " he said.

"Sapat na ba ang initial downpayment sa 2017 upang makamit ang 2022 agricultural and nutritional goals para hindi lumaki lalo ang GNP o Gutom Na Pilipino?" Recto asked.

The senator, however, lamented the decrease in the Department of Agriculture budget, saying that the P3.6 billion cut raises the obstacles in hitting food production goals and in slashing poverty incidence in a sector which employs 30 percent of the labor force.

Recto said government should also brace for the "human tidal wave" that will wash up on public school campuses, as "public elementary and high school enrollment is forecast to increase to 24 million in six years from 22.06 million today."

"Ang tanong: Sapat na ba ang downpayment na ilalagak ng 2017 national budget upang masabi nating on track tayo para sa educational goals 2022?" Recto said.

Recto said 2017 budget goals should be linked to the "tunnel-end" targets by 2022.

"We should go beyond next year's budget cycle. Because government spending plans should not be confined to the time it would take the earth to revolve around the sun," he said.

"As noted by many, our planning cycle follows the election calendar. Kung sa local, ang gusto 1,000 days program, that it creates bias for short-gestating projects that must be inauguration-ready in time to be milked for pogi points during the reelection period," he said.

Compared to Duterte's possible P26.7 trillion cumulative budget, Recto said, "using straight computation and not adjusted for inflation, si PNoy P12.84 trillion ang ginasta. Si GMA mga P9.8 trillion."

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