DBM releases almost 96% of 2020 budget
According to the latest report posted on its website, allotment releases in the first eight months of the year reached P3.92 trillion, accounting for 95.7 percent of the 2020 national budget.
STAR/ File
DBM releases almost 96% of 2020 budget
Mary Grace Padin (The Philippine Star) - September 12, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has released nearly 96 percent of the P4.1- trillion national budget to support the operations of agencies and for efforts to battle the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the latest report posted on its website, allotment releases in the first eight months of the year reached P3.92 trillion, accounting for 95.7 percent of the 2020 national budget.

This is faster than the allotment release rate of 91.4 percent recorded in the same period last year, as the government continues to deploy more funds for coronavirus response efforts.

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

Of the total amount released, the DBM said P2.13 trillion went to departments, equivalent to 90.6 percent of the P2.35 trillion adjusted program for agencies.

DBM data showed that the budget of the Department of Social Welfare and Development was augmented by P1 billion last August to reach P166.08 billion.

This came from savings generated from the implementation of Section 4(v) of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, which were lodged temporarily under Special Purpose Funds.

This resulted in a P1-billion reduction in the program for Special Purpose Funds to P491.42 billion. Of this amount, 60.5 percent or P297.4 billion has already been released to agencies.

Meanwhile, the DBM reported that releases from automatic appropriations amounted to P1.261 trillion in the first eight months of the year, slightly higher than the program of P1.259 trillion.

DBM Assistant Secretary Rolando Toledo, in a text message, said automatic appropriations exceeded the program due to additional requirements for the Retirement and Life Insurance Premiums (RLIP) of various agencies, corresponding to newly created and filled-up positions.

“It is allowed since RLIP is, being automatic in nature, it should be made automatically available and set aside as needed,” Toledo said.

From January to August 2020, other releases also reached P237 .15 billion.

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.

In a separate report, the DBM said funds released for COVID-19 related expenses have reached P389.06 billion as of Aug. 28.

About P266.53 billion of this amount was charged from the savings generated due to the discontinuance of programs and projects.

Another P20.48 billion came from regular agency budgets, while P102.06 billion came from Special Purpose Funds.

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