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FOR INFRA, ANTIPOVERTY PROGRAMS

More gov’t spending seen

Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines–The Aquino administration is expected to hasten and pour more funds into infrastructure development and poverty alleviation towards the end of its term, a Malacañang spokesperson indicated over the weekend.

Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma said Cabinet secretaries have “signed off” on performance targets with President Aquino regarding the revised Philippine Development Plan (PDP) that Socio-Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan revealed last week.

“The President and the Cabinet are determined to implement more vigorously the revised PDP targets, especially those on poverty reduction and infrastructure development,” Coloma said in a text message to the Inquirer.

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Coloma said each department’s targets are already “embedded in the [2014 General Appropriations Act].”

“Spatial or area specific targets have been set in provinces with high poverty incidence and those that are highly vulnerable to disasters. Every Cabinet secretary has signed off on a performance contract with the President,” Coloma said.

Coloma made the remarks in reaction to criticisms that the Aquino administration’s implementation of its new development plan would likely be slow just as it has been over the past three and a half years.

Former Budget Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno, an economics professor at the University of the Philippines, has been quoted as saying that if the slow roll-out of the administration’s public-private partnership program was any indication, the implementation of the updated PDP would also likely be sluggish.

“So far, for the last three and a half years, the administration has consistently failed to implement what little has been budgeted. It has to demonstrate better capability to complete projects,” Diokno was quoted as saying.

Malacañang spokespersons have in the past repeatedly blamed the slow roll-out of infrastructure projects to efforts at removing the “landmines” of corruption in the various line agencies.

The Inquirer earlier reported that the revised PDP sets more ambitious economic targets to address continuing concerns of poor Filipinos who are not enjoying the benefits of the country’s recent dramatic economic growth.

Among the new targets is the lowering of the poverty incidence from 25.2 percent of the population in 2012 to 16.6 percent by 2016, economic officials were quoted as saying.

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TAGS: Aquino Administration, Arsenio Balisacan, Herminio Coloma, Philippine Development Plan, Poverty Alleviation, President Benigno Aquino III
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