Opening Remarks for DBM Forum on Guidelines for Release of Funds in FY 2017 (Day 2)

Posted on February 2, 2017

Co-workers in the Department, ladies and gentlemen: good morning. Welcome and thank you for being here.

We are here today because we have successfully passed the Budget for 2017.

But passing the budget is only half the battle. Now, we move on to the next phase – execution. The true success of the General Appropriations Act of 2017 depends on our capability as a government to translate the figures into concrete results for the people. And this year poses a big challenge: the P3.35 trillion budget for 2017, the first budget crafted under the Duterte administration, is huge. It is an amount none of us has seen before.

The 2017 budget places in its core the people’s clamor for real change. It responds to the country’s urgent need to bridge the gap in infrastructure, which will in turn raise productivity, create many decent jobs, and attract investors. It demonstrates our endeavor to provide full support to all regions in the country, but most especially to the poor and climate-vulnerable regions left behind in our journey. And it powers the government’s thrust to develop our most important resource – our young population – into an educated, healthy, and agile workforce capable of driving innovation and growth in our society.

This budget indeed gives flesh to President Duterte’s 0+10 Point Socioeconomic Agenda to achieve our ultimate goals of generating prosperity while reducing poverty and income inequality.

But these plans, no matter how bold or complex, will be unmet if budget execution is not done correctly. As the Department of Budget and Management, we take the lead in the efficient and effective use of public resources. I can assure you that we will not carelessly spend this Budget; rather, we will spend within our means, on the right priorities, to produce measurable results. Our mandate is clear, so we must always observe efficient, transparent and accountable budget and management practices.

I’ve told you before and I will tell you again: this budget is not about us; it is about the people we serve. Spend your budget well, but always for the intended purposes. Do not skimp, if by doing so, you will fail to achieve your intended outputs. For example, if you promise to build and repair 47,000 classrooms, then do so; if you promise to build so many kilometers of new farm-to-market roads, then use your budget to deliver as you promise.

Use your budget wisely or lose it. If you fail, you disappoint the potential beneficiaries, and you would probably lose your job.

Remember, you have one year to obligate (not spend) your budget. If you fail to obligate your budget, you will lose it. So don’t take your easy time. We need to develop and pursue a culture of speed and excellent performance. Mabilis at maayos na serbisyo.

Finally, let us bear in mind that this budget, the biggest budget so far at P3.35 trillion, has raised the hopes and dreams of millions of our countrymen in our leaders and in our government. This budget gives hope to farmers that they can rise from poverty and provide for their families. It promises workers and ordinary citizens a more comfortable day to day life. It encourages millions of students to obtain a college degree and help their parents. It gives hope to the sick, the poor, and the elderly, that they will be cared for and not neglected by the government.

So let us not fail these people who trust us and whose dreams and aspirations rest on our shoulders. Let us give them nothing less than the best.

Thank you and mabuhay!