MANILA, Philippines — As the government scrambled to respond to the health and socioeconomic crises caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, budgets for education and infrastructure have been slashed to fund dole-outs and medical response, Department of Budget and Management (DBM) data showed.
The Bayanihan to Heal as One Act allowed the President to realign budget items, and of as end-April, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) suffered the biggest cut of P121.9 billion, leaving its spending program for 2020 at a lower P458.9 billion from P580.9 billion previously.
The huge reduction in DPWH’s budget seemed out of sync from the economic team’s plan to ramp up infrastructure spending so that the economy could quickly recover post-pandemic.
First-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) declined by 0.2 percent, and economic managers had said that one way to post a “V-shaped” recovery after an ongoing recession during the first half will be through the ambitious “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program, which the government was currently reviewing to immediately resume the “most impactful” flagship projects.
Next to DPWH is the budget of the Department…
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