Saturday, July 21, 2012


Rep. Winston “Winnie” Castelo (Liberal Party, 2nd District of Quezon City) today expressed support to the proposed P2-trillion national budget for 2013, saying the budgetary raise is necessary to spur economic growth with social equity in the country.

“As the embodiment of the country’s explicit and implicit policies, the envisioned P2 trillion national budget for 2013 shows the overall policy shift to sustained economic growth with emphasis on social equity,” Castelo said in a statement.

“The budget raise is expected to impact more on the poor,” Castelo said.
While he did not give a final figure, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad Jr. has earlier announced that the proposed 2013 national budget would hit for the first time the P2-trillion mark, up 11.1 percent from the P1.82 trillion national budget in 2012.

Abad said the proposed 2013 national budget would be funded by revenues, but only 2.0 percent would come from debts, also a major policy shift where the national budgets were funded in the past by heavy domestic borrowings.

While saying that no “final number” on the national budget has been set yet because the Development and Budget Coordinating Committee (DBCC) would first meet “to review economic assumptions,” Abad said the P2 trillion appeared realistic to pump prime the national economy and sustain economic growth.

The national budget, when used appropriately, is the single biggest instrument, which could stimulate economic growth and development, Castelo said, adding that foreign funds and investments appear nowhere in sight.
Castelo expressed satisfaction that the Aquino administration appeared bent to spend a significant portion of the budgetary increase for key infrastructure and social services, saying they would mean a lot to employment.

“Infrastructure spending promotes massive employment, while heavy expenditures for social services mean that the poor and downtrodden would enjoy the fruits of government spending and economic growth,” Castelo said.
Castelo also said the planned 20 percent increase in the conditional fund transfer (CCT) for the country’s 20 percent of the nation’s “poorest of the poor” households would have a tremendous impact to alleviate mass poverty and extend social services to them.

While he expressed support for a realignment of the CCT fund to extend socialized health care for the poor, Castelo said the planned increase would have positive impact in whichever way it would be employed for the poor people.

Abad said that among the infrastructure being eyed are arterial national roads, which should be finished in 2014, improved spendings in agriculture, and rice self-sufficiency in 2013.

Abad also indicated significant investments in education that by the end of 2013, the government hopes to close the classroom gap of 65,000.

“Social services and economic services like rural electrification, irrigation, roads and bridges, we are going to close, and finish the arterial national roads and bridges by the end of 2014,” Abad said.

According to him, the proposed P2-trillion budget excludes expected revenues from new sin taxes.

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