Budget department releases P78 billion to boost Philippines COVID-19 response

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As of October 29, 2020, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has released a total of P77.98 billion to various government agencies and departments for their respective COVID-19 related response programs pursuant to RA No. 11494 or the “Bayanihan to Recover as One Act”. This came after the President delegated to the DBM Secretary the authority to approve budget requests under Bayanihan II in order to facilitate the immediate release of funds, among others.

As of October 29, 2020, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has released a total of P77.98 billion to various government agencies and departments for their respective COVID-19 related response programs pursuant to RA No. 11494 or the “Bayanihan to Recover as One Act”.

Economic managers hoped a boost in state spending would make up for the weak private consumption in the second half. However, latest data showed government spending fell by 15.45% to P351 billion last month.

The funds released were broken down into P20.6 billion for the Health department; P13.1 billion for the Labor department; P12.032 billion for the Agriculture department; P9 billion for the Transportation department; P6 billion for the Department of Social Welfare and Development; P2.5 billion for the Department of the Interior and Local Government for the hiring of contact tracers; P2.5 billion for Professional Regulation Commission for its project to conduct a computer-based licensure examination; P8.1 billion for Small Business Corp. and P1 billion each for state-run banks Land Bank of the Philippines and Development Bank of the Philippines for low-interest loans.

Around P855 million was also released to the Office of Civil Defense for construction of isolation facilities; P820 million to the Department of Foreign Affairs for its programs to assist returning overseas Filipino workers; P461.5 million to the Bureau of the Treasury to augment the support fund of local government units; P180 million to the Philippine Sports Commission for the allowances of national athletes and coaches; P100 million to the Trade department for the Balik Probinsya program.

The DBM said it also issued P995 million to the Department of Public Works and Highways; P28.4 million to the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process and P730 million to the Health Department, separately.

“For the remaining balance of the P140-billion allocation under Bayanihan II, the DBM expects the respective implementing agencies to submit their budget requests with complete supporting documents, consistent with existing budgeting rules and regulations. The DBM likewise assures the public that all requests will be immediately evaluated and processed within 24 hours upon receipt of complete documents,” the statement read.

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