Irrigation agency gets bulk of gov’t subsidy
In light of the prolonged dry spell due to El Niño, the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) cornered more than half of the subsidies given away by the national government during the first quarter.
The latest Bureau of the Treasury data showed that the government granted only P9.3 billion in subsidies to state-run corporations between January and March, down from P45.29 billion in the same three-month period last year.
Major non-financial government corporations received P7.42 billion, while other government corporations got P1.89 billion.
NIA’s end-March subsidies amounted to P5.77 billion or 62 percent of the total.
The monthly subsidies to NIA, the government-owned and -controlled corporation (GOCC) in charge of irrigation development and management, were also the biggest in each of the first three months of the year. Amid the dry spell due to the El Niño phenomenon, the government has granted NIA more than half or P435 million of the P795 million in total subsidy it released in January to state-owned corporations.
The other top recipients of GOCC subsidies as of March were the National Food Authority (P1.06 billion) and Philippine National Railways (P296 million).
According to the Governance Commission for GOCCs, up to 90 percent of the subsidies that state-run firms receive were being spent on programs and projects, while the rest covered operational expenses.
The national government also provides budgetary support to GOCCs through equity and net lending.
In 2018, subsidies to GOCCs hit a record P136.7 billion. NIA was the second-biggest recipient of GOCC subsidies with P28.4 billion, behind Philippine Health Insurance Corp.’s P52.9 billion.
The agency received a lot of government financial assistance to help farmers reeling from the impact of the summer season, which is scorching their farms and their produce.
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