The Straits Times
Published on Dec 19, 2012

Philippine leader signs $59 billion anti-poverty budget for 2013


MANILA (AFP) - Philippine President Benigno Aquino on Wednesday signed into law a 2 trillion peso (S$59 billion) budget for 2013, vowing to use higher taxes on tobacco and alcohol to boost programmes to reduce poverty.

Education, health, agriculture and a cash-transfer scheme for the poor are the key priorities of the appropriations, which are 10.5 per cent higher than the 2012 national budget, he said during the signing ceremony.

"We designed this budget as an instrument to give the common man the power to control and improve his life," Mr Aquino said.

He thanked parliament for passing earlier this month a controversial rise in "sin taxes" on tobacco and alcohol products, which is expected to bring in over $800 million in extra revenues next year.