DBM end-April releases slowed to P1.323T amid reenacted budget woes
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has released only P1.323 trillion in funds during the first four months as the government operated under a reenacted 2018 national budget at the start of the year.
The latest DBM data showed that the end-April releases were less than half of the P3.265 trillion in allotment releases during the same four-month period last year.
The total releases as of April nonetheless jumped from P500.9 billion at end-March.
Releases from January to April included P653.8 billion under obligational authority on top of P668.8 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 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 budget under Republic Act (RA) No. 10964, P696.9 billion were released between January and April—P642.4 billion for line departments and agencies as well as P54.6 billion in special purpose funds.
“Allotment releases issued by the DBM enable agencies to incur obligations to finance the delivery of public services, such as education, healthcare, poverty alleviation, and infrastructure development,” it said in a statement.
As for the special purpose funds, the DBM said “notable releases came from the pension and gratuity fund, budgetary support to government corporations, and the miscellaneous personnel benefits fund.”
Automatic appropriations amounted P611 billion, covering retirement and life insurance premium (P23.7 billion), local government units’ internal revenue allotment (P575.5 billion), special account in the general fund that included the motor vehicle users charge fund (P4.7 billion), and tax expenditures fund for customs duties and taxes (P7.2 billion).
The DBM also had P14.6 billion in new releases that were issued Saro within the first four months, including P4.3 billion in continuing appropriations under the P3.767-trillion obligation-based 2018 budget, of which P1.2 billion were for departments, and P3.1 billion were special purpose funds.
“Funds allocated to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), the Department of Health (DOH), among other agencies, were also included” in the continuing appropriations, the DBM said.
Also released by the DBM were P9.9 billion in unprogrammed appropriations on top of P494.9 million in grants/donations and revalidation of the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ (AFP) Modernization Program, which were considered as other automatic appropriations.
The unprogrammed appropriations included “support to foreign-assisted projects of the Department of Transportation (DOTr),” the DBM said.
“These [unprogrammed] funds covered loan proceeds requirements for the implementation of the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) Line 3 rehabilitation project and Phase 1 of the North-South Commuter Railway Project,” it said./ac
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