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October 31, 2018


Breakfast with Ben

Breakfast with Ben is a weekly informal and casual discussion of Department of Budget and Management Secretary Benjamin Diokno with media to talk about the latest news on the budget, economic reforms and government policies.


October 31, 2018


8:30 AM – 10:30 AM


DBM Executive Lounge, DBM, General Solano St., San Miguel, Manila




1. Status of FY 2018 Budget
2. Augmentation of DSWD Quick Response Fund
3. Status of priority airport projects

* Watch the full, unedited press conference below:

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(Editor’s note: The starting time may change due to scheduling constraints.)
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  • In line with the administration’s ambitious Build Build Build program, 28 airport projects for construction/rehabilitation/upgrade are listed in the Department of Transportation’s (DOTr) priority agenda. Of the 28, three international airport projects – Lal-Lo, Puerto Prinsesa, and Mactan-Cebu –  and four domestic airport projects – Tuguegarao, Calbayog, Ozamis, and Naga –  have already been finished.The Clark International Airport expansion project is due to be completed on June 2020.These projects are projected to upgrade the country’s aviation industry and will ensure greater regional accessibility. In the long run, this will propel a sustained economic growth through an improved and more convenient movement of people and products, and generate quality jobs for Filipinos.

    Night-rating of airports

    Equipping airports with night-rating capabilities allows them to accommodate evening flights, thereby increasing their daily service capacity. As of October 2018, 20 out of the existing 42 airports nationwide have already been night-rated. In 2017, four airports – Legaspi, Roxas, Dumaguete, and Caticlan – were equipped with night-rating capabilities. And early this year, the Tuguegarao airport has also been night-rated.

    Four more airports – Naga, Dipolog, Cotabato, and Cauayan – are targeted to be completed this year.

    Construction of new airports

    With a 2.1-kilometer runway to accommodate heavier aircraft, the Lal-lo International Airport in Cagayan commenced operations last March 2018. With this, the airport is now capable of catering to commercial jet aircraft and other heavier aircraft, besides chartered flights. The Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) also aims to fast-track the construction of the remaining runway facilities for smoother and safer flights.

    Meanwhile, the Bohol Panglao International Airport is scheduled for inauguration on November 22, 2018.

    NAIA Rehabilitation

    The Ninoy Aquino International Airport is also in line for rehabilitation. The four-year project involves improvements and expansion of terminals, as well as the construction of additional runways, taxiways, passenger terminals, and other support infrastructure.

    This PhP101 Billion upgrade is seen to benefit 65 million passengers per year and will be funded through unsolicited proposal, subject to Swiss challenge.

    Notably, through this administration’s efforts, NAIA, the country’s main international airport, has risen from being dubbed as one of the world’s worst airports into the 10th most-improved airport in the world.


  • As of October 25, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has released PhP 3.599 trillion, or 96% of the PhP 3.767 trillion budget for fiscal year 2018. “We are in the fourth quarter of the year so we will secure the swift release of funds as authorized by the General Appropriations Act (GAA),” said Budget and Management Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno. “79% of the 2018 Budget was released in January 2018 and we have maintained the quick yet prudent pace of budget releases,” he added.

    Allotment releases issued by the DBM, enable agencies to incur obligations to finance the delivery of public services, such as roads and bridges, health and education services, and other poverty reduction programs and projects. In fact, allotment releases to the line departments have reached PhP 2.220 trillion, which is 97% of the programmed budget for government agencies. These include funds allocated for departments in the Executive branch, Congress, the Judiciary, and other constitutional offices.

    Meanwhile, fund releases from Special Purpose Funds (SPFs) have amounted to PhP 397.1 billion, equivalent to 80% of the allocation to SPFs in the 2018 Budget. Most of the releases have come from the Budgetary Support to Government Corporations (BSGC), Miscellaneous Personnel Benefits Fund (MPBF), Pension and Gratuity Fund (PGF), and the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund (NDRRMF).

    These lump sum funds are for specific programs and projects that have not yet been identified in the budget preparation phase, which are then released subject to special provisions or conditions authorized by the GAA. For instance, the PGF will finance the pension and retirement benefits of retiring uniformed personnel, while the NDRRMF may be tapped for the relief, rehabilitation, and reconstruction of communities in case of calamities such as a typhoon.

    PhP 965.4 billion, or 98% of the program for Automatic Appropriations has also been released as of October 25. The Internal Revenue Allotment for local governments has been released in its entirety, amounting to PhP 522.7 billion this year. Other significant releases under automatic appropriations are for the purposes of interest payments and retirement and life insurance premiums of government personnel. Automatic appropriations are for programs and projects budgeted in the annual spending program by virtue of legislation, hence are “automatic” in nature.

    Some major releases in October 2018 include: PhP 34.0 billion to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) for the implementation of the Basic Education Facilities program of the Department of Education (DepEd), PhP 1.1 billion subsidy to the Land Bank of the Philippines for the PUV Modernization Project, and PhP 6.7 billion to cover the pension differential arrearages of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

    “We will continue to provide updates on the status of the 2018 Budget as these are public funds,” said Secretary Diokno. “Our people can count on the efficient and transparent release of funds care of the DBM,” he concluded.

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