NFA, scandal-ridden PhilHealth, get biggest subsidies in June
Subsidies for the purchase of rice for buffer stocks and health insurance raised government spending in June with the state-run National Food Authority (NFA) and the now scandal-ridden Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) getting the biggest budgetary support.
The latest Bureau of the Treasury data showed that the NFA received the largest subsidy among government-owned and/or -controlled corporations (GOCCs) last month, worth P31.3 billion.
In a separate report, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) explained that last month’s releases to the NFA included “the conversion of national government advances into subsidy” worth P30.7 billion.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the government also disbursed P26.2 billion in subsidies to PhilHealth, which is in charge of the national health insurance program and is the main implementing agency of the universal health care law, despite alleged corruption that led to the resignation of some officials last week.
Budget Secretary Wendel E. Avisado earlier said PhilHealth will receive P71.3-billion worth of subsidies this year.
Last year, PhilHealth got P72.7 billion, representing 36 percent and the biggest share among GOCCs. Subsidies in 2019 reached a total of P251 billion.
Since 2014, PhilHealth has been cornering the largest yearly subsidy across all state-run corporations.
During the month of June, a total of P69.2 billion in subsidies were distributed to 26 GOCCs, up from P7.04 billion a year ago.
At the end of the first half of 2020, subsidies extended to 34 state corporations reached P169.5 billion, up from P26.7 billion last year.
Allowed by the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act during the COVID-19 lockdown, the DBM had reduced the programmed budgetary support to government corporations by a total of P10.7 billion to P185.3 billion from the P195.9 billion originally allocated in the P4.1-trillion 2020 national budget.
These budget cuts were realigned into programs, projects and activities addressing the health and socioeconomic crises caused by COVID-19.
Up to 90 percent of subsidies that state-run firms receive were usually spent on programs and projects, while the rest covered operational expenses, according to the Governance Commission for GOCCs (GCG).
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.