WORLD Philippine president signs 93.7 bln USD budget for 2021

WORLD

Philippine president signs 93.7 bln USD budget for 2021

Xinhua

20:02, December 28, 2020

MANILA, Dec. 28 (Xinhua) -- Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday signed the 4.5 trillion pesos (roughly 93.7 billion U.S. dollars) 2021 national budget intended to revitalize the country's pandemic-hit economy and boost its response to the continuing threat of COVID-19.

This handout photo taken and released on July 27, 2020 by the Philippines' Presidential Photo Division (PPD) shows Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte delivering his annual State of the Nation Address in congress in Manila. (Photo: AFP)

The 2021 budget includes 72.5 billion pesos (roughly 1.5 billion U.S. dollars) for the purchase, storage, transportation, and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.

"The budget will enable us to heal, rebuild and resume our economy's upward trajectory," Duterte said in a speech during the signing ceremony at the presidential palace.

He said the budget will allow the government to continue to pursue its flagship Build, Build, Build infrastructure program, revitalize the industry and service sectors, and support its much-needed social services project.

Duterte assured the Filipinos that his administration "would ensure efficient use of resources through a sound fiscal policy that will enable us to overcome the debilitating effects of the pandemic on public health and our economy."

"Every centavo of this budget must be spent to ensure our nation's recovery, resilience, and sustainability," Duterte added.

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said the 2021 budget, equivalent to 21.8 percent of gross domestic product, is the country's largest to date, larger by 10 percent than the fiscal year 2020 budget.

"(The budget) will prioritize health-related COVID-19 response programs to address the continuing threat of the pandemic," DBM said.

The Philippines aims to inoculate up to 70 million Filipinos in three to five years.

The Philippines now has 470,650 confirmed COVID-19 cases, including 9,124 deaths.

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