Increased demand for public health services as well as the government’s cash aid for workers in small businesses pushed up the Duterte administration’s monetary support to state-run companies last year.
Data from the Bureau of the Treasury showed that total subsidies to government-owned and -controlled corporations (GOCCs) jumped by 14 percent to P230.42 billion in January to December last year from P201.52 billion in the previous year.
Based on the Treasury data, nearly half or 49.2 percent of the government’s total subsidy disbursements went tothe Philippine Health Insurance Corp., commonly known as PhilHealth, and Social Security System (SSS).
PhilHealth needed the support of the national government in 2020 to cover the treatment costs of COVID-19 patients confined in hospitals and other health facilities. SSS, meanwhile, facilitated the cash aid under the Small Business Wage Subsidy (SBWS) program.
According to the Treasury, total government subsidies to PhilHealth reached P62.4 billion in 2020. That amount, however, is 14 percent lower compared with the previous year’s disbursements of P72.7 billion.
SSS, on the other hand, received P51 billion in subsidies from the Treasury to cover the expenses for the SBWS program, which benefited 3.4 million employees in micro, small and medium enterprises. The pension fund received zero subsidy in 2019.
Aside from PhilHealth and SSS, the Treasury also released billions of pesos in financial aid to 13 other GOCCs last year.
The Treasury data revealed that the National Irrigation Administration received P33.68 billion in subsidies in 2020, while Land Bank of the Philippines got P23.3 billion in additional capital from the government to expand its lending programs.
The National Housing Authority, National Food Authority, National Electrification Administration, Light Rail Transit Authority, and Philippine Crop Insurance Corp. also received subsidies of P18.14 billion, P10.52 billion, P6.29 billion, P3.46 billion and P3.16 billion, respectively.
Other recipients of state support were National Power Corp. (1.69 billion), Small Business Corp. (P1.5 billion), Philippine Heart Center (P1.42 billion), and Philippine Fisheries Development Authority (P1.17 billion).
The Philippine National Railways along with the Philippine Children Medical Center also secured from government aid last year amounting to P1.07 billion and P1.04 billion, respectively.
In December 2020 alone, government subsidies to GOCCs increased by 67 percent to P42.56 billion from P25.4 billion in the same month in the previous year.
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