Jul 082017

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte shows a photo of a .45 caliber pistol which he intends to provide to law enforcers during his visit to the headquarters of the 1002nd Infantry Brigade in Malungon, Sarangani Province on July 5, 2017. (MNS photo)

MANILA, July 5 (Mabuhay) –The Duterte administration is earmarking P322 billion of the proposed P3.767 trillion national budget in 2018 for social services to cover the marginalized sector.

“The total budgetary allocation for our social services Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, National Health Insurance, health facilities, basic educational facilities program will reach P322 billion in 2018, more than seven times its allocation in 2011,” Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno said in his speech at the Tax Reform Forum in Mandaluyong City on Wednesday.

Diokno emphasized that social services extended by the government will install safety nets for the poor and the marginalized as the government embarks on an aggressive tax reform initiative.

The first package of the tax reform program, approved by the House of Representatives as House Bill 5636 or Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion on May 31, seeks to lower personal income tax rates and, at the same time, adjust excise taxes and expand the value added tax base as compensating measures.

Additional revenues generated from the tax reform will not only fund the administration’s ambitious P8.4 trillion massive infrastructure spending plan, but also sustain the conditional cash transfer program, the full implementation of the K-12 program, and the pursuit to universal PhilHealth coverage, among other social protection services, Diokno noted.

“Tax Reform will help government finance the delivery of essential public services,” he said.

“It will help achieve our goals to upgrade public infrastructure and to develop young population into agile, competent workforce,” he added.

Malacañang on Tuesday announced that the Duterte administration is proposing a P3.767 trillion national budget for 2018.

The proposed budget is lower than the P3.840 trillion announced in March, due to a “watered down” first package of the tax reform program approved by the lower house. (MNS)

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