Government adds P270 billion to 2023 budget

Louise Maureen Simeon - The Philippine Star
Government adds P270 billion to 2023 budget
Latest data from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) showed that the adjusted program for the year had been set at P5.537 trillion as of end-November.
Philstar.com / Jovannie Lambayan, file

MANILA, Philippines — The government has adjusted the national budget by nearly P270 billion, with the majority directed toward unprogrammed appropriations, resulting in a record-setting total of P5.54 trillion for the current year.

Latest data from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) showed that the adjusted program for the year had been set at P5.537 trillion as of end-November.

This is P269.312 billion above the programmed P5.268 trillion budget.

Of the P5.537 trillion, 97.6 percent has been released or about P5.406 trillion as of last month.

The entire P261.1 billion additional budget went to unprogrammed appropriations, which provide standby authority to incur additional agency obligations for priority programs or projects when revenue collection exceeds targets, and when additional grants or foreign funds are generated.

The DBM started adjusting the national budget in September with an initial P220.18 billion extra resources. By the end of 2022, total adjustments were reduced to P218.46 billion.

As of now, the 2023 adjusted program is 23 percent higher than last year’s level.

DBM data showed that of the unprogrammed appropriations, the biggest chunk at P196.23 billion went to support foreign- assisted projects of the Departments of Agrarian Reform, Agriculture, Finance, Health, Labor and Employment, Public Works and Highways, Trade and Industry, Transportation, and Social Welfare and Development, as well as the Philippine Competition Commission.

Around P22 billion was allocated for priority infrastructure programs for roads, bridges, multipurpose buildings, flood control and water systems of the DPWH.

Another P20.84 billion was earmarked for infrastructure projects and social programs of the DA and DSWD. Another P13.19 billion was allotted to the National Food Authority and P4 billion for the allowances of healthcare workers.

Some P4.14 billion and P2.14 billion were also given to the DPWH as a government counterpart for its projects and right of way and subsidy support, respectively.

Another P1.3 billion was allotted to the DOTr for the provision for payment of arrears.

About P4.6 billion has been earmarked for the miscellaneous personnel benefits fund and staffing modifications and upgrade of salaries of various state agencies.

The Philippine Postal Corp. is set to receive P500 million for the reimbursement of franking privilege services.

The remaining P100 million was earmarked for the implementation and expansion of programs, activities and projects of the Philippine Space Agency.

Further, data showed that the DBM released P3.53 trillion under the 2023 General Appropriations Act (GAA). This is 96.5 percent of the total P3.66 trillion financing.

Under the 2023 GAA, additional releases were made to departments in November as it inched up to 98.5 percent, reaching P3.1 trillion of the P3.14 trillion allocated for departments.

In terms of special purpose funds, releases increased to 84.4 percent or P436.19 billion out of the P516.55 billion.

On the other hand, releases for automatic appropriations also went up, reaching 95.6 percent or P1.54 trillion of the P1.61 trillion aggregate funding.

In November, additional releases were made for interest payments, reaching P519.11 billion out of the P582.32 billion earmarked for this specific item.

Funds released for net lending also jumped to 68.4 percent or P19.65 billion out of the P28.7 billion budget.

The DBM also issued an additional P1.95 billion to cover the benefits of new hires, in addition to the entire P64.2 billion in retirement and life insurance premiums for state workers, which were already fully released in January.

Earlier this year, the DBM fully released allocations for the national tax allotment (P820.27 billion), block grants (P64.76 billion), special account in the general fund (P32.17 billion), pensions of former presidents or their widows (P480,000) and tax expenditure fund (P14.5 billion).

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