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Abad: 2015 budget not an ‘election budget’

Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad on Wednesday said that the proposed P2.606-trillion national budget for next year is not an “election budget” and would not be used as a political tool in the 2016 presidential polls.

During the inter-agency Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) briefing on the 2015 national appropriations, the Budget Chief rejected claims that their fiscal proposal seeks to advance the political interest of administration candidates in 2016.

“It was a claim. I absolutely disagree with that observation. We took pains, the NEDA, the BSP and DOF to explain the basis of this budget. We set the sectoral and geographical priorities. It is based on rational budget priorities framework. It cannot be distorted by partisan politics,” he told the House committee on appropriations when asked by Caloocan Rep. Edgar Erice if the proposed budget for 2015 is an “election budget” as claimed by Social Watch Philippines Lead Convenor Professor Leonor Magtolis Briones.

Briones claimed that the 2015 national budget would be used by the administration candidates for the 2016 polls.

However, Abad maintained that the proposed 2015 budget, which is 15.1 percent higher than the current year’s budget of P2.265 trillion is not dictated by partisan considerations.

He even noted that their fiscal proposal “hews very closely to the unique requirements of our most impoverished provinces, including those that are regularly in the path of natural calamities.”

“We’re also prepared to make even more dedicated investments into quick-expanding industries that have proven instrumental in fueling the economy. When the National Budget gives proper and sufficient support to these high-impact sectors—such as industry and agriculture—we can expect energetic public construction, brisk commercial activity, and even more job opportunities for our growing workforce,” Abad said.