President Rodrigo Duterte told lawmakers in his pitch for a P4.5-trillion budget next year that a revitalized "Build, Build, Build" would create up to 220,000 jobs, helping offset losses due to the pandemic.
Insfrastructure building in 2021 will prioritize health, essential services and transportation, Duterte said in the budget message that comes every year with the spending plan that Malacanang submits to the House of Representatives.
For infrastructure, next year's budget proposal sought to allocate the equivalent of 5.4 percent of the country's economy or gross domestic product.
Unemployment is at record levels, at a quarter of workers aged 18 and up surveyed by the Social Weather Stations. Last April, the government estimated the total jobless at 7.3 million and the figure will be updated on Sept. 4.
"Because of its high multiplier effect on economic growth and output, infrastructure development is indispensable in reviving the Philippine economy during and after the COVID-19 pandemic," he said.
The pandemic and resulting quarantines, now on its fifth month, have led to the first economic recession in decades.