MANILA, Aug. 1 (Xinhua) -- The Philippine fiscal spending on infrastructure soared by 41.6 percent year on year in the first half of this year on the back of higher disbursements related to the administration's Build, Build, Build program, according to data released by the government on Wednesday.
The Philippine Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said spending for infrastructure and other capital outlays continue to soar as it hit 352.7 billion pesos (roughly 6.7 billion U.S. dollars) in the first half of 2018, up 103.6 billion pesos (roughly 1.95 billion U.S. dollars) or 41.6 percent, year-on-year.
This also puts actual infrastructure disbursements above-program by 14.4 billion pesos (roughly 271.51 million U.S. dollars) or 4.3 percent, the DBM said.
"This is attributed to infrastructure projects of various agencies, especially the road infrastructure projects of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH)," Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno said during a forum on Wednesday.
Diokno said disbursements for public spending in the first half of the year have reached 1.604 trillion pesos (30.252 billion U.S. dollars), higher by 272.7 billion pesos (roughly 5.143 billion U.S. dollars) or 20.5 percent, year-on-year.
Compared to the program for the first half of 2018, he said actual spending increases 34.4 billion pesos (roughly 648.9 million U.S. dollars) or 2.2 percent.
"The performance of government spending is unprecedented, because we are ahead of the program for the first time in history. This is a result of the reforms we have implemented in planning and budgeting," Diokno said.
Although disbursements exceeded the program for the first half of the year, Diokno said revenue collection continued to be robust giving the government enough fiscal space to stay well within the deficit ceiling.
Diokno said revenue collections as of June 30, 2018 reached 1.411 trillion pesos (roughly 26.61 billion U.S. dollars), surpassing the program of 1.305 trillion pesos (24.61 billion U.S. dollars) by 105.7 billion pesos (roughly 1.993 billion U.S. dollars) or 8.1 percent.
This also represents a 234.2 billion pesos (roughly 4.42 billion U.S. dollars) or 19.9 percent increase, year-on-year, he added.
The better-than-expected expenditure-revenue mix resulted in a deficit of 193.0 billion pesos, 71.3 billion pesos or 27.0 percent below the 264.3 billion pesos program for the first half of the year.
The Build Build Build program, which is designed to make up for the inadequacies in the country's dismal state of infrastructure, will usher in the Golden Age of Infrastructure in the Philippines, according to the government.
The Duterte administration intends to spend 8 trillion to 9 trillion pesos, or roughly 160 billion to 180 billion U.S. dollars in six years.