Subsidies to state firms up 14-fold in JulyBy Michelle V. Remo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Subsidies to government-owned firms surged in July from that of a year ago following the Aquino administration’s recent thrust to improve healthcare and housing programs.
Data from the Department of Finance showed that subsidies to state-owned companies amounted to P18.75 billion in July—about 14 times more than the P1.23 billion reported in the same month last year.
The top 3 beneficiaries of subsidies during the month were Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (Philhealth), National Housing Authority (NHA), and National Food Authority, which got P11.89 billion, P2.93 billion, and P2 billion, respectively.
The substantial growth in the financial support extended to Philhealth came about after Republic Act No. 10606, which embodies the government’s universal healthcare program, was signed into law last June.
The program will enable Philhealth to provide health insurance coverage for all Filipinos.
Subsidies extended in July brought the total in the first seven months of the year to P31.97 billion—more than double the P14 billion registered in the same period last year.
Philhealth and NHA remained the top 2 beneficiaries of subsidies during the seven-month period, accounting for P11.97 billion and P8.26 billion, respectively. The National Electrification Administration came in third with P3.09 billion.
Also, the increase in subsidies led to an increase in the government’s expenditures in the first seven months of the year. The DOF earlier reported that government spending from January to July rose by nearly 14 percent year-on-year to P1.089 trillion.
With state revenues reaching P984.9 billion in the first seven months of this year, the government incurred a budget deficit of P104.51 billion during the period.
The latest budget deficit was up by 42 percent year-on-year.
But the DOF has expressed confidence that the full-year budget deficit ceiling of P238 billion will not be breached.
This year’s deficit ceiling was lower than the actual 2012 budget gap of about P243 billion.