By Mario Casayuran | Manila Bulletin
Sen. Ferdinand ‘’Bongbong’’ R. Marcos Jr. strongly suggested to economic planners of Malacanang to focus the government’s fiscal spending on critical infrastructure because ‘’it is one of the best ways to address poverty.’’
‘’This is the reason why it’s very important for us to ensure that the government will actually be able to spend the (proposed P3 trillion) 2016 (national budget) for infrastructure it wants Congress to approve,’’ he said.
Marcos, chairman of the Senate public works committee, noted that the Aquino administration itself admitted to underspending in the past year which economists blamed for the slowdown in the country’s economic growth.
It is for this reason, according to Marcos, that he would look closely into the administration’s plans to speed up public spending in 2016, particularly for vital infrastructure needed to boost economic growth.
Marcos has been calling for increased government spending on vital infrastructure such as roads, mass transport systems, power and telecommunications to spur economic growth and provide job opportunities to the poor.
‘’When the 2016 budget is presented to us for deliberation, I’ll look into the details on how the administration plans to accomplish its avowed goal of speeding up public spending for the remainder of its term,” he said.
In his 2016 budget message, President Aquino acknowledged that “much more needs to be done to boost public spending and speed up delivery of crucial public services.”
In 2014, government disbursements fell short of the programmed P302.7 billion. Malacañang said this was due in large part to poor planning and program and project design; procurement difficulties, including frequent bid failures and the weak capacity to procure; and other bottlenecks, including right-of-way issues, difficulties in securing permits, and coordination problems.