Duterte signs P3.35 trillion as 2017 budget

President Rodrigo Duterte signed the P3.35 trillion budget for “real change” this coming 2017 to deliver his promises to curb criminalities and boost the economy on Thursday, December 22, 2016.

New roads, bridges, and transport terminals amounted to P850 billion or five percent of gross domestic product were included in the next year’s budget.

“The General Appropriations Act of 2017 is the embodiment of the Filipinos' clamor for real change,” Duterte said in his speech.

He added that the first budget for his administration will be ensured as pro-people, pro-investment, pro-growth, and pro-development.

An amount of P544 billion was allotted for the Department of Education which will include the increase of teachers’ cash or chalk allowance from P1500 to P2000.

The Department of Health nearly received P150 billion which will encompass P1.5 billion to assign more doctors to far-flung areas and P3B for Filipinos to access universal healthcare.

P128.3 billion will also be granted to the Department of Social Welfare and Development which will include P78.2 billion for the continuity of conditional cash transfers for the poorest of the poor.

The Department of Interior and Local Government has P148 billion for the sustainability of war against illegal drugs, construction of new jail facilities, and increase allowance for prisoners.

P137.2 billion will be awarded to the Department of National Defense for territorial defense, the Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Program, and security and stability services.

The allocation for the Department of Agriculture amounted to P45.2 billion while the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) is provided with P9.8 billion. Free irrigation for farmers will be shouldered by the National Irrigation Authority's budget of P38.4 billion for 2017.

"The budget is useless if the Filipino is not its center. The budget is a credible budget where every peso works," Duterte said.

[Source: ABS-CBN News]