Philippine President Aquino: People's interests 'on top, centre' of 2016 budget

Philippine President Aquino: People's interests 'on top, centre' of 2016 budget
Philippine President Benigno Aquino III, center, delivers his last State of the Nation Address during the joint session of the 16th Congress at the House of Representatives in suburban Quezon city, north of Manila, Philippines on Monday, July 27, 2015.

President Benigno Aquino III on Tuesday asked Congress to approve the P3-trillion national budget for 2016, which he said would put Filipinos' interests "on top and centre" and their voice "at the heart and centre" of the state.

In a message to the Senate and the House of Representatives, he urged legislators to "make the right choice: to approve the People's Budget for 2016."

The proposed budget, he asserted, would "ensure that the next generation will inherit a healthy treasury; a government that can confront the new challenges and surprises of our volatile world, and a society that is poised for further progress."

It is "designed to consolidate the reforms that we have introduced since 2010 and provide a strong foundation for inclusive development," he noted.

The budget is "central to our pursuit of inclusive development," the President said. "Since the start of our term, we have introduced reforms that ensure that the government spends within its means, invests in the right priorities and delivers measurable results for our people," he said.

The administration is "driven by our belief that the budget is the government's most potent instrument in achieving its development goals," Mr. Aquino said.

"Through the budget, we set the pace and tone of governance reform from establishing tighter controls against corruption to improving the capability of public institutions to deliver services while being held accountable for their performance.

"Moreover, we use the budget to empower citizens in statecraft through greater transparency, accountability and public engagement," he also said.

The 2016 budget "will enable us to continue addressing our people's urgent needs while fulfilling our commitment to fiscal responsibility."

"Because of our efforts to boost revenue collections, manage our debt and liabilities, and dramatically curb leakages and inefficiencies in spending systems, we have almost doubled our budget from P1.541 trillion (S$46 million) to P3.002 trillion in the last six fiscal years," he added.


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