By Genalyn Kabiling
President Duterte has directed the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to ensure the fair distribution of resources in all provinces.
After approving the proposed 2020 national budget, the President said it “must be spread” equally, even though he would let his hometown Davao City be given the least priority.
“The money of the people of the Republic of the Philippines will be equally divided ‘yung proportionately,” he said at the oath-taking ceremony for new officers of the League of Cities of the Philippines and Liga ng mga Barangay in Malacañang.
“Pero makita ninyo ang pinakamaraming infrastructure dito sa Luzon and sa mga Visayas the airports there. Ang Mindanao, sabi ko, maybe toward the end of my term kung may maiwan pa [But you will see, Luzon and Visayas have many infrastructure projects, including airports. Mindanao, I said, will be next maybe toward the end of my term if there are funds left],” he added.
Duterte assured the public that newly appointed Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado is a “worker” and will ensure the fair allocation of budget.
But the President said his administration would put first the needs of other provinces before the needs of his home city.
“If you’d notice Davao is not even one of those given the privilege. Pati ‘yung airport, talagang dinelay ko sabi ko unahin mo muna ‘yung airport ng lahat bago ang Davao para walang masabi ‘yung tao [I really delayed the Davao airport project. I told them to prioritize other airports before Davao so people will not say anything],” he said.
In another speech at the Palace, the President said the government will “take care first all the needs of the rest of the Philippines, improve their airports.”
If the government has time and money, he said, they would then focus on the development of Davao.
Last Monday, the President approved the P4.1-trillion national budget for 2020 during a Cabinet meeting. Education will get the biggest slice of the national budget proposal, followed by public works, transportation, and health, according to Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo.
He said the funds would be spent “wisely to reach a state of vibrant economy that will be felt by the citizenry.”