Subsidies surged 21.4% to P151B in 9 months | Inquirer Business

Subsidies surged 21.4% to P151B in 9 months

/ 04:03 AM November 04, 2019

Subsidies to implement state-run corporations’ cash grants, health and irrigation programs jumped 21.4 percent to P151.5 billion as of end-September, with Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) cornering almost two-fifths of the nine-month disbursements.

The latest Bureau of the Treasury data showed that the amount of subsidies given away by the national government to government-owned and -controlled corporations (GOCCs) during the first nine months rose by more than a fifth from P124.8 billion a year ago.

A separate Department of Budget and Management (DBM) report also showed that actual subsidy expenditures during the January-to-September period exceeded by 66.5 percent the P91-billion program.


It said the recovery in overall spending as of September was “mainly due to the substantial subsidies to government corporations for the implementation of the unconditional cash transfer (UCT) program through Land Bank of the Philippines, national health insurance program of PhilHealth and irrigation programs of the National Irrigation Administration, among others.


The cash grants under Landbank’s UCT program covered the country’s 10 million poorest households and individuals affected by the new or higher taxes slapped on consumption by the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Act being implemented since last year.

The TRAIN Law slashed personal income tax rates but jacked up or slapped new excise taxes on cigarettes, oil products, sugar-sweetened beverages, vehicles and cosmetic procedures, among other goods and services.

During the month of September alone, GOCC subsidies amounted to P54.7 billion, up 179.3 percent from P19.6 billion a year ago and P31.8 billion a month ago.
In September, the significant increase was attributed to PhilHealth’s payment of health premiums of senior citizens (P27.1 billion) and indigent patients (P2.2 billion); release of P12 billion to Landbank as conduit of the Department of Social Welfare and Development for the implementation of the UCT program; settlement of obligations of NIA (P7.5 billion) for its completed irrigation programs and projects, and release to the Small Business Corp. to support its financing program for micro, small and medium enterprises called Pondo para sa Pagbabago at Pag-Asenso (P1.3 billion), the DBM said. —BEN O. DE VERA

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TAGS: Business, Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth)

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