78% of 2021 national budget released in first quarter | Inquirer Business
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78% of 2021 national budget released in first quarter

/ 05:22 AM April 15, 2021

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) released P3.51 trillion or 78 percent of the record P4.51-trillion 2021 national budget in the first three months, portions of which funded various agencies’ pandemic response.

The share of first-quarter releases to total appropriations was slightly lower than the 78.4 percent recorded a year ago, but the P3.22 trillion released and the P4.1-trillion budget last year were both smaller than this year’s figures, the latest DBM data showed.

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Among funds under Republic Act No. 11518 or the 2021 General Appropriations Act, allotment releases from January to March amounted to P2.41 trillion or 78.5 percent of the P3.08-trillion full-year program.

Comprehensive releases to government departments as of end-March reached P2.29 trillion or 87.1 percent of the programmed P2.64 trillion for 2021.

FEATURED STORIES

As for special purpose funds, P115.9 billion or 24.6 percent of the P440.1 billion allotted for this year were released.

Automatic appropriations—programmed over a period prescribed by law through outstanding legislation requiring periodic action by Congress—amounting to over P1 trillion or 70 percent of the P1.43-trillion program for 2021 were released during the three-month period.

For release before year-end

These automatic appropriations included retirement and life insurance premium; local government units’ internal revenue allotment; pensions of former presidents and widows (of former presidents); special account in the general fund; net lending; interest payments; releases under the tax expenditures fund for customs duties and taxes to be paid for government importation, and the block grant for the newly formed Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Also released during the first three months were P91.3 billion in continuing appropriations from last year’s budget; P82.2 billion under the extended Bayanihan to Recover as One Act or Bayanihan 2 Law; P8.3 billion in unprogrammed appropriations; as well as P193.9 million in other automatic appropriations covering donations and grants plus the military camps sales proceeds fund.

The DBM must release the balance of P991.6 billion in the 2021 budget before the end of the year. —Ben O. de Vera

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