Sunday, 1 March 2009

Philippine gov’t frontloads P100-B infra spending

By Edu Lopez
The Manila Bulletin
http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/197359/gov’t-frontloads-p100-b-infra-spending

The government is frontloading P100 billion for critical infrastructure projects in the first half of the year as its initial salvo to help insulate the economy from the worst impact of the raging economic crisis.

This was the assurance made by budget chief Rolando Andaya in his segment of the economic briefing recently held in Makati. Andaya said he expects President Arroyo to sign the delayed budget in early March. By then, his office will start moving.

“We are now in the position to frontload 60 percent of the infrastructure development project for the first half of the year,” he explained.

The P100 billion is three times the amount used for infrastructure projects last year which was P30 billion, he added.

In addition to infrastructure, the education, health and welfare and agriculture departments have also been given significant increases in their budgets for the year to bring life to the stimulus measures.

Instead of going through the tedious process of farming out the projects from central offices of the agencies assigned to implement the stimulus package, the budget department will go directly to the implementing units which could be the district offices of agencies or local government units.

This way, Andaya explained, implementation will be quick.

Irrigation systems will be handled by the Department of Agriculture. The Department of Education will take care of building schools while the Department of Public Works and Highways will build the roads, bridges and ports.(EHL)

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