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Over 90% of 2019 budget released

September 13, 2019

NEARLY all of the P3.66 trillion in this year’s national budget has been released as of end-August, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) reported on Thursday.

Department of Budget and Management (DBM)

In a statement, the Budget department said P3.34 trillion or 91.4 percent of the total budget — which it called its “obligation program” — had been released in the first eight months of the year.

Of the total released in the period, P1.97 trillion was allotted to line departments, which include funds earmarked for agencies in the executive branch, Congress, the judiciary and other constitutional offices.

The department also said P244.64 billion was released as special purpose funds (SPFs), which are budgetary allocations in the General Appropriations Act for specific socioeconomic purposes.

These are usually lump sum in nature, as the recipient departments or agencies and/or specific programs and projects were yet to be identified during the budget’s preparation and legislation.

SPFs are used as budgetary support for government corporations, allocation to local governments, contingent fund, miscellaneous personnel benefits fund, national disaster risk reduction and management fund, and pension and gratuity fund.

The DBM said allotment releases for automatic appropriations, or appropriations programmed annually or for some other period prescribed by law, inched up to P1.069 trillion.

Some P2.63 billion in additional payments for retirement and life insurance premium requirements were released for newly created or filled positions in various agencies, it added.

The Budget department also released P24.77 billion as of end-August from the continuing appropriations of the 2018 GAA for line departments and releases from SPFs.

Existing or continuing appropriations are those previously enacted by Congress and that continue to remain valid as an appropriation authority for the expenditure of public funds.

As for unprogrammed appropriations, some P29.07 billion have been released, largely for support to foreign-assisted projects of the Department of Transportation, and for payments of pension arrears of military and uniformed personnel.

Unprogrammed appropriations are those that provide standby authority to incur additional agency obligations for priority programs or projects when revenue collection exceed targets and when additional grants or foreign funds are generated.

Allotments for other automatic appropriations, amounting to P7.541 billion, have also been released.

“The immediate release of funds by the DBM will ensure that national government agencies are able to swiftly implement their programs and projects, such as the construction of new roads, schools and hospitals, and the protection and promotion of the welfare of the poor and marginalized sectors, among others,” the department said.

MAYVELIN U. CARABALLO

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