Campaign spree? Palace says funds intact
Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) - May 18, 2016 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang took offense yesterday over allegations that the Aquino administration has spent 80 percent of this year’s P3-trillion national budget.

“While it is true that budget releases have reached more than P2 trillion, total funds obligated and covered by Notices of Cash Allocation reached only P464.33 billion in the first quarter of the year,” Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. of the Presidential Communications Operations Office explained.

“Out of this amount, P411.4 billion was utilized to get checks from the national treasury while the remaining P53 billion is still with the agencies,” he added, refuting reports of a “mad rush of spending during the election season and leaving only 16 percent of the fund.”

Coloma described the reports as “irresponsible, untrue and without factual basis.”

“These statements only reflect a lack of knowledge and understanding on how the national budget was actually spent,” he said.

He said the Aquino administration adhered to the principles of sound fiscal management in handling public funds and would pass on to the incoming administration robust, liquid and financially stable national coffers.

Coloma said the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has released about P2.5 trillion to government agencies, or 83.5 percent of the total P3-trillion national budget for this year.

But this does not equate to disbursements or actual spending as the funds still need to be obligated first before these can be disbursed by the government agencies, Coloma pointed out.

“After the budget is released, the concerned government agency must submit and secure approval for a work and financial plan from the DBM and this serves as the basis for obligating certain amounts for specific projects,” he explained.

“Once these projects have been deemed obligated, the agency will secure Notices of Cash Allocation from the DBM, which they would present to the Bureau of Treasury to obtain checks,” he added.

Coloma said about P1.3 trillion or 45 percent of the total national budget is allotted for Personnel Services (P811.8 billion) and Miscellaneous and Other Operating Expenses (P524 billion), which are disbursed monthly based on the financial plans of government agencies that passed through the scrutiny of Congress during the budget deliberations.

BARANGAY G. DEL PILAR
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