Budget releases jump in May
The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has fast-tracked the release of funds from the 2019 national budget in May such that allotment releases amounted P2.61 trillion at the end of the first five months.
But while the DBM already released 79.6 percent of the P3.276-trillion net spending program as of end-May, it was a slower pace compared to 88.5 percent, or P3.33 trillion of the P3.77-trillion 2018 appropriations during the first five months of last year.
The total releases as of May nonetheless climbed from the authorization allowing agencies to obligate for their programs and projects in the first four months, during which the national government operated under a reenacted 2018 budget amid squabbles in Congress for pork funds.
In a statement, the DBM explained that allotment releases from the fiscal year 2018 General Appropriations Act (GAA) as reenacted amounted to P386.1 billion from January to April.
“Combining the 2019 net program and the initial releases from the 2018 reenacted budget yields the full-year program of P3.662 trillion,” the DBM said.
President Duterte signed the P3.7-trillion 2019 budget only in mid-April after he vetoed P95.3 billion in projects that were not part of his administration’s priority programs and projects.
Releases from January to May included P1.537 trillion under the 2019 GAA—P1.515 trillion for departments on top of P21.109-billion worth of special purpose funds (SPFs).
“This is largely due to the GAA-as-allotment order policy of the DBM where majority of funds are comprehensively released to agencies as soon as the budget is passed into law,” the DBM said of the end-May releases to departments accounting for 83.7 percent of the net program for this year.
As for SPFs, the DBM said “most allotments are ‘for later release’ since certain conditions have to be met and specific requirements have to be submitted by requesting agencies as outlined in the legal provisions of the fiscal year 2019 GAA.”
The DBM also released P1.05 trillion in automatic appropriations—98.2 percent of net program, for retirement and life insurance premium, local government units’ internal revenue allotment, pension of ex-presidents and their widows, special account in the general fund, net lending, interest payments and the tax expenditures fund covering customs duties and taxes for government importation.
Also part of end-May releases were P18.46 billion in continuing appropriations from the 2018 budget, P9.86 billion in unprogrammed appropriations and P558.853 million in other automatic appropriations for grants and donations as well as the revalidation of the AFP Modernization Program.
For the rest of the year, the DBM still has to release P668.61 billion in appropriations.
“Moving forward, the DBM will continue the speedy yet prudent release of funds to accomplish the programs, activities and projects of government agencies. Efficient budget releases will ensure that public resources, including the money paid by taxpayers, will be channeled to interventions that alleviate poverty, create jobs and boost the country’s overall development,” it said.
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