COVID releases hit P375 billion â DBM
According to the latest data on the DBM website, funds amounting to P374.89 billion have been transferred to state agencies and departments for their respective COVID-19 response efforts.
KJ Rosales
COVID releases hit P375 billion — DBM
(The Philippine Star) - July 2, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines  — The national government has released almost P375 billion in funds for the implementation of measures against the coronavirus disease 2019 or COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) reported.

According to the latest data on the DBM website, funds amounting to P374.89 billion have been transferred to state agencies and departments for their respective COVID-19 response efforts.

DBM said P266.24 billion of the total allotment releases came from savings pooled following the discontinuance of programs, projects and activities in the 2019 and 2020 budgets.

Another P98.41 billion came from Special Purpose Funds, while the remaining P10.25 billion from regular agency budgets.

DBM said bulk or P200.98 billion of the total releases as of the end of June went to the Department of Social and Welfare Development for the implementation of the Social Amelioration Program.

This was followed by the Department of Finance (DOF), which received P88.52 billion. Of this amount, P51 billion was transferred to the Social Security System (SSS) for the Small Business Wage Subsidy (SBWS) program.

Another P37.02 billion was distributed as Bayanihan grants to local government units in order to improve their capacity in responding to the health crisis.

Meanwhile, funds released to the Department of Health (DOH) reached P48.23 billion, intended for the purchase of testing kits, personal protective equipment and medical supplies; hiring of medical staff; and other measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus in the country.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) also received P12.58 billion, while the Department of Agriculture (DA) and Department of Education (DepEd) were given P11.1 billion and P10.91 billion, respectively.

Other agencies who received additional funds for COVID-19 response include the Department of National Defense (P1.16 billion), Department of Interior and Local Government (P747.93 billion), University of the Philippines- Philippine General Hospital (P400 million), Department of Trade and Industry (P203 million), Department of Science and Technology (P53.23 million), Department of Foreign Affairs (P5.09 million), and Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (P500,000).

Under the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, which expired last June 25, President Duterte was authorized to discontinue programs in the 2019 and 2020 General Appropriations Act to generate savings for COVID-19 response.

He was also authorized to reallocate or realign cash, funds, investments, including unutilized subsidies held by government-owned and -controlled corporations (GOCC) to address the health emergency.

Last week, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez revealed that GOCCs have so far remitted a total of P149.2 billion in dividends since the beginning of the year to augment funds for COVID-19 response.

The government is also increasing its borrowing to bridge its budget deficit, which is expected to widen to P1.16 trillion or 8.4 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) this year.

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