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Thumbnail Budget Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno gave his keynote speech at the first Project DIME Forum at the Ayuntamiento de Manila on Thursday to express his support for the project’s implementation and further development.   He described it as a “game-changing project” intended to send a message to the implementing agencies that the budget agency is looking over their shoulder in the delivery of their projects.   Secretary Diokno also shared his optimism that Project DIME “will succeed and continue to be implemented in the future.”   Project DIME is one of the Department of Budget and Management’s (DBM) key reforms to implement the management side of its mandate to ensure that every dime of the people’s money is spent well and to assist the implementing agencies in their provision of programs, activities, and projects.   It monitors selected high-value government projects by comparing fund utilization with physical accomplishment using Digital Data for Imaging Technologies (DDIT) such as drones, Lidars, and satellites.   Documentary evidence is no longer enough, actual photographic evidence of physical accomplishments will be needed.   “Project DIME is especially necessary in overseeing projects in...
Thumbnail DBM Secretary Diokno clarified claims of “insertions” in the President’s budget during a press briefing on Wednesday at the DBM office in Manila.   “There is no insertion in the budget. That term is a misnomer. Changes during budget preparation are ‘adjustments’,” Secretary Diokno said.   “In the case of public works, the request of the DPWH was initially P652 billion, not P488 billion as Congressman Andaya mentioned yesterday. We initially approved P480 billion out of the P652 billion for DPWH, that could be where he got that number,” Secretary Diokno said.   “But in the final phase, we found that this was still short of our commitment to disburse at least 5% of GDP for infrastructure. That’s why the budget of DPWH was adjusted by P75.5 billion,” Secretary Diokno explained.   The total budget for the DPWH, according to the National Expenditure Program, is P556 billion, well below the original proposal of P652 billion by the public works department.   “So I don’t know where he (Andaya) got P51 billion. The math will show that the adjustment would be closer to P75 billion,” he added.   Finally, Secretary Diokno said that adjustments like this one are normal during budget preparation phase....
Thumbnail The Department of Budget and Management has released 96.5%, or PhP 3.633 trillion, of the PhP 3.767 trillion budget for fiscal year 2018 as of November 30.   This is a PhP 4 billion increase in total allotment releases from the November 22 report, which amounted to PhP 3.629 trillion.   Besides continuing appropriations from Republic Act 10924 or the General Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2017 amounting to PhP 3.05 billion, unprogrammed appropriations worth PhP 12.32 billion were also included in the additional release.   Unprogrammed appropriations comprise the following:   PhP 3.5 billion in support for foreign-assisted projects,   PhP 8 billion in support for infrastructure projects and social programs, and   PhP 800 million in general fund adjustments.   Other automatic appropriations with a total of PhP 3.89 billion were also covered by the release. This included funding for the AFP Modernization Program, grants and donations, and others.       (30)    
Thumbnail Government spending reached PhP 306.6 billion in October 2018,  higher by PhP 79.8 billion or 35.2% from the same period last year on the back of higher infrastructure spending and maintenance expenditures. This puts total national government spending at PhP 2.796 trillion in the first ten months of the year, registering an impressive PhP 555.0 billion or 24.8% growth.             “We are glad to report that government spending has continued its strong outturn in the month of October, driven by our huge investments on social services and Build Build Build,” said Budget and Management Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno.  “There is no underspending, as critics falsely claim, and this is validated by the numbers. We’ll have a strong finish in 2018,” he explained.   Drivers of Spending Growth in October             Infrastructure and other capital outlays surged to PhP 94.4 billion in October 2018, up by PhP 42.9 billion or 83.4% year-on-year as billing claims and payments for completed infrastructure projects were made.   These include: road infrastructure projects of the Department of Public Works and Highways (rehabilitation/reconstruction/upgrading of damaged paved national roads, flood control and drainage...
Thumbnail "We have numbers," says DBM Secretary Diokno, responding to claims from Congressman Rolando Andaya saying concerns over a reenacted budget are overstated.   According to DBM estimates, a reenacted budget would reduce disbursements by around PhP 220 billion by 2019. While “the sky will not fall down,” as Congressman Andaya claimed, the growth impact of such a reduction would be "detrimental," according to the budget chief.   "Our growth targets are anchored on a carefully-crafted expansionary fiscal policy," Secretary Diokno said. "If you reduce the budget, you interrupt our growth momentum.”   Latest NEDA estimates show that a reenacted budget could have a GDP growth impact of  -1.1 to -2.3% in 2019.   Employment will also be reduced by as much as 600,000 jobs in sectors such as construction, public administration and defense, wholesale and retail trade, land transport and education.   It is also estimated that 200,000-400,000 individuals could be pushed into poverty following the contraction of the budget.   "I have previously served two other Presidents, and I have not seen the stars align like it has for this one. With steady and relatively stable growth, we have a golden opportunity here to...
Thumbnail The economic managers are pleased to report that inflation rate has markedly slowed to 6.0 percent in November 2018, suggesting the efficacy of anti-inflationary measures taken by the government and pointing to continuing reduction going forward.   Today, the Philippine Statistics Authority announced that year-on-year inflation eased to 6.0 percent in November from 6.7 percent in October 2018, the lowest rate since the 5.7 percent rate in July.  In fact, month-on-month inflation declined by 0.3 percent.   It is comforting for us that the slowdown will alleviate the struggles of poor Filipinos, especially now that the holiday season is just around the corner.   This makes us even more determined in curbing inflation and enforcing all measures to guarantee food security.   As of November 2018, year-to-date inflation averaged 5.2 percent. This is 1.2 percentage points above the high end of the government’s inflation target range of 2.0 to 4.0 percent, but slightly below the 5.3 percent emerging forecast of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas for 2018.   Food and non-alcoholic beverages continue to be the main drivers of inflation. Last month, it decelerated to 8.0 percent from 9.4 percent in...
Thumbnail In a Cabinet meeting yesterday, President Rodrigo R. Duterte approved the recommendation of the economic managers to continue the implementation of the second tranche of excise taxes on petroleum products effective January 1, 2019.  The recommendation of the Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC), deliberated upon in a special meeting last November 29, was in light of falling world oil prices and moderating inflation pressures.   “Economic conditions have changed from the time the suspension was recommended, and it is our duty as economic managers to respond to these developments. That is the crux of economic planning,” said Budget and Management Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno.   At the time the DBCC convened its special meeting, Dubai crude oil prices have plummeted by 14 percent – from an average of USD 79 per barrel in October 2018 down to USD 68 per barrel in late November 2018. Furthermore, the oil futures market projects that world oil prices will fall further to below USD 60 per barrel in 2019, indicating a downward trend in prices.   Even with the additional PhP 2 per liter with the second tranche of oil excise taxes, that pump prices will be lower by about PhP 10 to  PhP...

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