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Diokno: Marcos admin to be ‘very aggressive’ on privatization of state assets

The Marcos administration will be embarking on an "aggressive" sale of government assets to ramp up state revenues, Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno said Friday.

During the House of Representatives budget briefing, Diokno said that there is an expected budget shortfall of P1.16 trillion next year as state spending of P5.1 trillion is seen to exceed projected collections of P3.6 trillion.

The Finance chief said the fiscal gap would be plugged by borrowings.

Manila Second District Representative Rolando Valeriano asked Diokno if the government was open to disposing of assets to fill the gap.

In response, the Finance chief said, "We will be very aggressive with our privatization effort."

Based on the Budget of Expenditures and Sources of Financing for 2023, the government is projecting P500 million worth of proceeds from privatization.

No details, however, were provided as to which government assets are being considered for sale or for disposal.

Diokno also expressed openness to the passage of a supplemental budget next year if necessary.

"If there are additional resources available to us, either through maybe new loans or maybe additional revenues coming from, say, privatization of some corporations, we will be willing to support a supplemental budget," he said.

"If there are ready to implement projects and we have the money, then we [should] spend it now rather than, say, a year from now."

In his presentation, Diokno said the administration seeks to improve spending efficiency and alignment of budget priorities that are anchored on the government’s eight-point socioeconomic agenda.

"We are determined to pursue faster, greener, and more inclusive growth that will benefit all sectors. This goal is guided by the Marcos administration’s eight-point socioeconomic agenda," he said.

House appropriations committee chairman Ako Bicol party-list Representative Elizaldy Co said Congress "shall guarantee that every peso authorized in this budget is directed to address food security and inflation, reduce poverty, and provide the necessary stimulus for economic transformation."

"Let’s work hard and work together to accomplish this task assigned to us by the Filipino people to ascertain their future prosperity and advancement," he said. —VBL, GMA News