Philippine President Benigno Aquino III vowed Tuesday to increase infrastructure spending to 5 percent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP), a level that will attract more foreign direct investments, before he steps down in 2016.
Aquino, in his budget message for the proposed 2.27-trillion- peso (52.45 billion U.S. dollars) budget for 2014, said that his administration is allocating 399.4 billion pesos (9.24 billion U.S. dollars), which is equivalent to 3 percent of GDP, for infrastructure next year.
"This allocation will pave the way for the increase in infrastructure spending to 5 percent of the GDP in 2016," he said.
Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, who submitted the proposed budget to Congress on behalf of the president, said investments in infrastructure will further rise to 587 billion pesos (13.57 billion U.S. dollars) and 824 billion pesos (19.05 billion U.S. dollars) in 2015 and 2016, respectively.
International lending agencies, such as the World Bank, said that the Philippines has to improve expenditures on infrastructure to catch up with the neighboring countries so as to attract more investments.
The World Bank has proposed that the Philippines should jack up its infrastructure investments to 5 percent of GDP by 2016.