July 31, 2011,  PhilStar

To support rapid, inclusive and sustained economic growth, the administration of President Benigno Aquino III is proposing P438.9 billion ($10. 4 billion) for the economic services sector for 2012.

This represents an increase of 21.3 percent over the sector’s P361.9-billion ($8.58 billion) budget for 2011, a senior government official said today.

Budget and Management Secretary Florencio Abad said this sectoral allocation — which is 24.2 percent of the proposed P1.816- trillion ($43-billion) National Budget for 2012 – will be focused on supporting the government’s five priority areas for job generation and economic development: on top of the established drivers of growth like semi-conductor and electronics; business processing outsourcing; emphasis will be on tourism development; agriculture and fisheries development; and general infrastructure.

Abad said to support the Aquino administration’s commitment for socio-economic development, the 2012 budget provides a larger budgetary program for infrastructure and other capital outlays at P255.2 billion ($6.05 billion), which is 33.1 percent higher than the 2011 budget level of P191.7 billion ($4.54 billion).

“Rapid, inclusive and sustained economic development does not only require significant spending on public infrastructure. It also requires that these infrastructure projects and other activities are implemented in a focused and cohesive manner,” said Abad.

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), he said, will receive P38.5 billion ($912.32 million) to support completion of primary and secondary roads and bridges by 2016. The amount will fund the construction of 6,229 kilometers of new roads and 15,292 lineal meters of new bridges.

The department will also have a budget of P29.7 billion ($703.79 million) for the rehabilitation and maintenance of national roads and bridges.

To support tourism, a budget of P8.1 billion ($191.94 million), or a whopping 351.4-percent increase from the 2011 level, is provided to the DPWH for the construction of 1,071 kilometers of access roads to tourist destinations. Various airport projects, including the New Bohol Airport Development Project, the Puerto Princesa Airport Development and the New Legazpi Airport Development, will also be funded.

Meanwhile, to support the administration’s Food Staples Self- Sufficiency Roadmap, the Department of Agriculture-National Irrigation Authority will be allocated with P24.8 billion ($587.68 million) for the construction and rehabilitation of irrigation systems that will service a total of 214,055 hectares. This is a 93.6-percent increase from 2011’s P12.8 billion ($303.32 million) for irrigation.

The government is proposing public-private-partnership (PPP) Strategic Support Funds of P3 billion ($71.09 million) and P8.6 billion ($203.79 million) respectively under the DWPH and the Department of Transportation and Communications for various PPP ventures and for the preparation of business cases and feasibility studies.