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DBM releases 78% of P4.5-T budget in Q1

Budget Secretary Wendel E. Avisado said last week that the agency is working on an executive order directing agencies to reduce nonessential expenses to free up more funds for the government’s pandemic response. — PHILIPPINE STAR/ MICHAEL VARCAS

THE Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has released P3.514 trillion to state offices and local government units (LGUs) as of end-March, and implemented cuts to the Agriculture and Education departments’ budgets, latest data from the agency showed.

The amount released so far accounts for 78% of the P4.5-trillion national budget this year. This leaves P991.596 billion left to be released for the next nine months.

Compared with the same period last year, the allocation rate was roughly similar, with the 78.4% recorded in the first quarter of 2020.

This was based on the allotment releases issued by the DBM to agencies and LGUs, allowing them to incur obligations to fund their programs, projects and activities for the year.

Several adjustments to the agencies’ budgets were made, amid the government’s plan to roll out belt-tightening measures amid the pandemic.

The Department of Agriculture had its budget slashed by P21.72 billion to P46.9 billion from P68.62 billion, originally. The budget for the Department of Education was also cut by P2.93 billion to P554.33 billion, from its initial allotment of P557.25 billion.

Subsidies to government-owned and -controlled corporations were also reduced by P712.26 million to P147.48 billion.

On the other hand, more funds were given to the Department of Public Works and Highways, which received an additional P15.358 billion to bring its total budget to P710 billion. An additional P10 billion was also added under the “special account in the general fund,” bringing the total to P31 billion.

Total allotment releases so far were broken down into P2.297 trillion for line departments, making up 87% of their budgets for the year. Around P1 trillion or 70% of the total was released under automatic appropriations, which includes the internal revenue allotment for LGUs.

The DBM also released P116 billion from special purpose funds, or 26.4% of the total budget.

As of end-March, P99.77 billion under the continuing appropriations from the extended 2020 budget has been released.

Budget Secretary Wendel E. Avisado said last week that the agency is working on an executive order directing agencies to reduce nonessential expenses to free up more funds for the government’s pandemic response. — Beatrice M. Laforga

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