The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) said the Php3.767-trillion proposed national budget for 2018 will continue to bankroll neoliberal policies and fund oligarchic infrastructure projects while depriving much needed social services for the people.  “The 2018 budget that aims to ‘transform and reform’ is no more than just a war chest for Duterte’s militarist and opportunistic endeavors.”

 

“Bulk of the national budget will go to local and foreign plunderers. Only crumbs and morsels will go to the people’s actual needs. The fund allocated to social services is insufficient. There is no fund for free land distribution, free higher education, free housing and the establishment of national industries. The 3.8-trillion national budget will only fund Duterte’s all-out war and Martial Law,” said Danilo Ramos, chairperson of KMP.

 

The proposed national budget will be mainly sourced from revenues, debts and additional taxes.

 

Based on the President’s Budget Message, Php888.2-billion in new domestic and foreign debts will go to national government financing for fiscal year 2018. With the Php6.47-trillion outstanding debt and Php1.3-trillion additional debt, each of 104 million Filipinos will incur a Php61,670 debt per capita. “Bawat Pilipino kahit hindi pa ipinapanganak ay mayroon nang utang. Utang na hindi natin pinakikinabangan at pinagkakitaan lang ng oligarkiya.”

 

New tax measures under the Department of Finance’ Comprehensive Tax Reform Package targets to earn a total of Php133.5-billion. This will mainly come from the collection of new and controversial taxes — Php47-billion from P10 per liter levy on sugar sweetened beverages and Php87.8-billion increase in the excise taxes for petroleum and automobiles.

 

“The government will increase tax and debt burden on the people to finance big-ticket corruption-laden projects of oligarchs and bureaucrat capitalists. Infrastructure projects under the government’s Build, Build, Build! program is pegged at a whopping Php1.097-trillion. Billions in public funds will be funneled to construction of roads, train and railway systems, airports and maritime improvements and other infrastructure and Public and Private Partnership projects. Given the nature and record of the DPWH, this would equate to fund sources for corruption.”

 

The peasant group also criticized the large budget for national defense and the government’s all-out war and war vs. drugs. “The 2018 budget is clearly a war budget. National defense budget will get Php145-billion to increase the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ (AFP) fighting capability, an additional Php25-billion for the AFP modernization program and Php131.5-billion for the Philippine National Police Oplan Double Barrel Reloaded.” “This is a budget for death and destruction,” the KMP leader said.

 

“We will actively engage national government agencies as we expose and oppose the 2018 proposed national budget,” Ramos concluded. ###