News Releases

The Hosting of the 2017 ASEAN Meetings (Public Bidding No. 16-148-1) was bid out by Procurement Service (PS), with an approved budget for the contract of P2.86 billion. The bidding parameters were prepared by the ASEAN-National Organizing Committee (ASEAN-NOC) and were discussed with the PS before the bid was posted on the PhilGEPS on November 8, 2016. About 86% of the bid contract involved lease of equipment necessary for the hosting of the event. Both Stagecraft International and EON attended the pre-bid conference held on November 15, 2016, but only Stagecraft International submitted a bid on December 1, 2016. Thus, EON is technically not a bidder for this contract.


The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has issued Circular Letter No. 2016-9 dated 27 October 2016 directing all departments, bureaus, offices, agencies, and Operating Units (OUs) of the national government, including commissions and offices under the Constitutional Fiscal Autonomy Group (CFAG), State Universities and Colleges (SUCs), and other recipients of budgetary support such as government-owned or controlled corporations (GOCCs) and local government units (LGUs) to start submitting their annual budget execution plans for the 2017 budget.

The agencies are required to prepare and submit to the DBM their Budget Execution Documents (BEDs) which contain the agency plans, spending schedules, and physical targets. The DBM will evaluate and consolidate the BEDs to guide the Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) in formulating the national government’s quarterly disbursement program.

The BEDs serve as bases to facilitate the release of funds and enable prompt implementation of programs and projects including the conduct of early procurement activities. In addition, the BEDs shall be used in measuring the agency performance.

Non-regionalized and regionalized departments and agencies must submit their BEDs by 15 and 29 November 2016 respectively.

In line with the transparency and accountability thrust of the government, the status of BEDs may be monitored through the DBM’s website highlighting those with incomplete or no submissions within the prescribed deadlines five days after the November 29 deadline.

Starting this month, qualified members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and uniformed personnel of the Philippine National Police (PNP) will receive increases in their combat duty pay and combat incentive pay.

This is pursuant to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s Executive Order No. 3 dated 26 September 2016.

Budget Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno has earlier said that this increase in allowance is separate from their salary increase as provided by Executive Order No. 201, s. 2016.

From P500 per month, the Combat Duty Pay of the officers and enlisted personnel of the AFP and uniformed personnel of the PNP is increased to P3,000.00 per month.

“Officers and enlisted personnel of the AFP performing combat duties/activities and uniformed personnel of the PNP engaged in actual police operations as defined in regulations to be issued by the Secretary of National Defense and the National Police Commission, respectively, are entitled to receive Combat Duty Pay,” the Executive Order said.

Meanwhile, members of the AFP and the uniformed personnel of the PNP who participate in actual combat against members of various insurgent, terrorist and lawless elements, shall be entitled to an additional Combat Incentive Pay of P300 per day, subject to the following conditions:

1.     The operation must be for a specific combat mission that is duly covered by an OPORD or FRAG-0 for the AFP or a Mission Order for the PNP;

2.     The personnel involved in combat must be in the published task organization of the AFP OPORD/FRAG-0 or the PNP Mission Order; and

3.     The total additional Combat Incentive Pay for each individual shall not exceed Three Thousand Pesos (P3,000.00) per month.

The Combat Incentive Pay shall be over and above the Combat Duty Pay of P3,000 for qualified officers and enlisted personnel of the AFP and qualified uniformed personnel of the PNP.

The Department of Budget and Management welcomes the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations’ sponsorship of the proposed P3.35 trillion 2017 national budget today.

Budget Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno expressed his positive outlook that the General Appropriations Act will be signed by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte by December this year.

“We are very happy that the proposed 2017 budget is on time despite taking over only last July and overhauling the proposed budget prepared by the previous administration,” Diokno said.

Committee on Appropriations Chairman Davao City 1st District Representative Karlo Alexei Nograles in his sponsorship speech took note of the proposed budget’s highlights that would bring to life President Duterte’s promise of peace, prosperity, and social justice in the government.

The 2017 proposed General Appropriations Act, dubbed as the “Budget for Real Change,” is 11.6 percent higher than the 2016 budget. It represents 21 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), an expansionary budget much higher than the average government spending of 16.6 percent of GDP from 2006 to 2015.

Of the total P3.35 trillion expenditure program for next year, 40 percent will be invested in human resource through education, healthcare, social welfare, and other social services. Economic services will have 27.6 percent of the budget to fix and build new infrastructure network, boost the agriculture and rural sector, and generate more jobs and livelihood. The fund for infrastructure pours a total of P860.765 billion, or a 13.78 percent increase from this year’s allocation. Almost 22 percent of the budget will also fund general public services and defense. Meanwhile, the debt burden on the budget will be reduced further to 10.6 percent next year from 14.0 percent in 2016.

The Commission on Appointments (CA) today confirmed University of the Philippines economist Benjamin E. Diokno as Budget and Management Secretary, making him the first member of the Duterte Cabinet to get the bicameral body’s nod.

All 21 members of the CA, composed of members of the Senate and the House of Representatives, approved the motions to confirm Diokno, highlighting his expertise and competence.

In his sponsorship speech on the confirmation, Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri echoed Diokno’s mantra: “What Congress had appropriated, the Executive should have expended.”

Senator Loren Legarda, a co-sponsor of the confirmation, vouched for Diokno’s “unquestionable competence” and “expertise in the field of economics and extensive experience in introducing reforms in the public sector.

Senator Ralph Recto, another co-sponsor noted that Secretary Diokno “has been involved in preparing or executing 12 national budgets – from the time of typewriters to the age of Twitter – and that alone speaks volumes of his competence for the job”.

Diokno is already on his third tour of duty at the DBM. He has previously been appointed to the Cabinet of Presidents Corazon Aquino and Joseph Estrada. Diokno has also been teaching for more than two decades at the University of the Philippines, as a Professor of Economics. He’s been in government service for 49 years.

All Cabinet officials, as well as presidential appointments to other key positions, require approval from the CA as part of the checks and balances between the executive and the legislative.

Both admirers and critics of President Rody Duterte acknowledge that there is fast momentum of real change and reforms now. In fact, I hear a lot of businesspeople saying that this new administration marks the possible start of a new golden era for foreign and local investors to expand business operations in the Philippines. Here are some reasons why they should invest now:
• Charter change is coming on economic provisions. Moves to finally go forward in reforming the Philippine constitution can bring our investment policies up to par with or even more welcoming than those of our neighbors in ASEAN and Asia, thus boosting the profitability prospects for foreign and local investors. Let us woo more long-term businesses like factories or tourism ventures, not just so-called “hot money” investments.
Negros Occidental Rep. Alfredo “Albee” Benitez, the country’s formerly second wealthiest member of congress next to Manny Pacquiao (now a senator), told me that he and many legislators and businessmen support President Duterte’s Charter change plans, especially the archaic and restrictive economic provisions. Benitez is co-host of the ANC TV show Game Changer, along with his son Javier “Javi” Lopez Benitez.
• Lower taxes on business and personal incomes. Right now, we have among the highest business and personal income tax rates in the region. Reforms to lower these high tax rates will not only boost the attractiveness of doing business in the Philippines for foreign and local investors, it will free up more disposable income among the citizenry and thus boost our consumer spending. I encourage foreign and local investors to already position themselves here in the Philippines, to start businesses or expand before this renewed economic boom.
• Better peace and order. Drastic improvement in peace and order will boost tourism, and thus offer great opportunities for foreign and local investors to expand or go into resorts, hotels, spas and other tourism-related businesses. Dr. James Dy of Pan Pacific Travel Corp., who recently received the PAL Gold Elite Award, said, “If we enjoy a better peace-and-order situation under the reforms of President Duterte, the Philippines will enjoy a golden era of unprecedented growth in the tourism industry.”
Buhay Partylist Congressman Lito Atienza recently told me that he didn’t campaign for Duterte and was actually disappointed that he won decisively as the new president, but this senior minority leader now admitted to me that he is very impressed by President Duterte’s anti-drug and anti-crime campaign. Atienza said, “Better peace and order is good news for the Philippine economy. I am in the opposition in congress, but I am pleasantly surprised and very impressed by President Duterte’s political will to solve the illegal drugs and crime problems. I realize now that it is only Duterte who could do this; not even past presidents have tried to do what he is doing now to end the illegal drugs menace, which will woo investors and tourists.”
Published by the Philstar  (