DBM released P484.6B under reenacted budget at end-February
MANILA, Philippines–The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has released a total of P484.6 billion in funds during the first two months of 2019 to sustain government spending on priority programs and projects despite a reenacted budget.
The latest DBM data showed that releases from January to February included P292.8 billion in obligational authority, on top of P191.8 billion in special allotment release orders (Saro).
The following items cannot be covered by obligational authority, hence were issued Saro based on agencies’ special budget request: centrally-managed items chargeable against the reenacted 2018 national budget; charges against pension and gratuity fund; as well as charges against other special purpose funds such as budgetary support to government corporations, miscellaneous personnel benefits fund, and contingent fund, among others.
From the reenacted 2018 national budget under Republic Act (RA) No. 10964, a total of P320.9 billion were released at end-February, of which P292 billion were for departments and P28.9 billion were special purpose funds.
Automatic appropriations amounted P160.4 billion, covering retirement and life insurance premium (P11.6 billion), local government units’ internal revenue allotment (P143.9 billion), special account in the general fund that included the motor vehicle users charge fund (P2.4 billion), and tax expenditures fund for customs duties and taxes (P2.6 billion).
The DBM also had P3.2 billion in other releases, including P3 billion—P1.1 billion for departments and P1.9 billion in special purpose funds—in continuing appropriations under the P3.767-trillion obligation-based 2018 budget.
Also released by the DBM were P206.5 million in donations/grants counted as other automatic appropriations.
Last week, former Budget Secretary and now Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Benjamin E. Diokno issued the budget call for the proposed P4.249-trillion 2020 national budget even as the P3.757-trillion appropriations for 2019 were yet to be approved.
“Next year will be the first full-year implementation of the annual cash budgeting. Thus for 2020, there will be greater focus on ensuring the implementation-readiness of agency budget proposals to ensure that programs and projects will be implemented as planned,” Diokno said in a statement last week.
The government is currently operating under a reenacted budget as the approval of this year’s appropriations stalled in Congress amid allegations of “pork barrel” insertions and kickbacks among lawmakers, who had also implicated Diokno for alleged conflict of interest with certain infrastructure projects. /jpv
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