Philippines’ Duterte approves 91.65 bln USD national budget proposal for 2021

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the proposed 4.506-trillion-peso (roughly 91.65-billion-U.S. dollar) national budget for 2021, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said on Sunday.

In a statement, the DBM said Duterte approved the budget during a special meeting with the Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) on July 30.

“The proposed fiscal year 2021 budget aims to sustain government efforts towards effectively responding to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic by focusing government spending on improving our healthcare systems, ensuring food security, increasing investments in public and digital infrastructure, and helping communities cope and prevail in these trying times,” the DBM statement read.

The DBM said the theme “Reset, Rebound and Recover: Investing for resiliency and sustainability” this year is consistent with the Duterte administration’s goal of saving lives and protecting communities while making different sectors of the economy stronger and more agile.

According to the DBM, the 2021 budget is 9.9 percent higher than this year’s budget of 4.1 trillion pesos (roughly 83.39 billion U.S. dollars), and equivalent to 21.8 percent of GDP.

“Every peso of the proposed 2021 budget went through numerous budget hearings and consultations with the agencies, and levels of scrutiny and approval,” the DBM added.

The DBM said it will be finalizing the 2021 National Expenditure Program (NEP) and other budget documents so that they can submit them to the Congress “before the 30-day constitutional deadline.”

The Philippines continues to grapple with the rapid increase of coronavirus cases despite the strict lockdown measures imposed in mid-March.

The country now has 98,232 confirmed COVID-19 cases, including 2,039 deaths and 65,265 recoveries.