Government releases 91% of 2019 national budget
Mary Grace Padin (The Philippine Star) - September 13, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The national government has released 91.4 percent of the P3.662- trillion national budget as of end-August to support the programs and projects of line agencies, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said yesterday.

According to the latest data from the DBM, allotment releases from January to August have already reached P3.345 trillion, equivalent to 91.4 percent of the 2019 obligation program.

This was, however, slightly slower than the 92.9 percent allotment release rate recorded in the same period of 2018.

Allotment releases issued by the DBM enable agencies to incur obligations to finance the delivery of public services, such as education, healthcare, poverty alleviation, and infrastructure development.

Based on DBM data, P1.97 trillion of the total amount released as of Aug. 31 went to line agencies, including those in the executive branch, Congress, the judiciary and other constitutional offices.

The DBM said releases from the special purpose funds (SPFs) also amounted to P244.64 billion.

SPFs are budgetary allocations in the General Appropriations Act that are allocated for specific socio-economic purposes, such as budgetary support to government corporations, allocation to local government units, Contingent Fund, Miscellaneous Personnel Benefits Fund, National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund, and Pension and Gratuity Fund.

Meanwhile, the DBM said it also released P1.07 trillion for automatic appropriations, which include funds for the retirement and life insurance program, internal revenue allotment, pension of former presidents or widows of former presidents, net lending and interest payments.

Allotment releases for continuing appropriations under the 2018 General Appropriations Act also reached P24.78 billion as of end-August. These refer to appropriations available to support programs or projects that require the incurrence of obligations beyond one fiscal year. 

On the other hand, some P29.07 billion in unprogrammed appropriations has also been released, largely to support foreign-assisted projects of the Department of Transportation, and the payment of pension arrears of military and uniformed personnel.

According to the DBM, unprogrammed appropriations include additional agency expenditures for priority programs and projects authorized when revenue collections exceed the targets or when additional grants or foreign funds are generated.

“The immediate release of funds by the DBM will ensure that national government agencies are able to swiftly implement their programs and projects, such as the construction of new roads, schools, and hospitals, and the protection and promotion of the welfare of the poor and marginalized sectors, among others,” the DBM said.

According to the latest data from the DBM, national government spending in July grew by 3.4 percent to P339.4 billion from P328.1 billion in the same month last year, signalling that spending is starting to pick up and normalize.

“The recent spending performance indicates that disbursements are starting to normalize and gradually accelerating,” the agency said.

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