89.1% of national budget released in seven months – DBM

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 8) — The government has released about 90 percent of the national budget in the first seven months of the year, according to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

In a statement Thursday, the DBM said ₱3.263 trillion, or 89.1 percent, of the ₱3.662-trillion 2019 general appropriations has been released as of end-July.

"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 agency said.

Allotment releases to line departments--including those in the Executive branch, Congress, Judiciary, and other constitutional offices--accounted for the bulk of the figure at ₱1.923 trillion.

During the first half, a total of ₱222.143 billion "Special Purpose Funds" were released, covering socio-economic purposes such as budgetary support to government corporations, allocation to local government units, contingent fund, miscellaneous personnel benefits fund, National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management fund, as well as pension and gratuity fund.

Meanwhile, the DBM released ₱1.063 trillion for automatic appropriations which are programmed annually as prescribed by law. These included retirement and life insurance program, internal revenue allotment, pension of ex-president widows, net lending, and interest payments.

A total of ₱24.7 billion was released from continuing appropriations, which are intended for projects require the incurrence of obligations beyond one fiscal year.

An amount of ₱24.1 billion was released for unprogrammed appropriations, which according to DBM "authorize additional agency expenditures for priority programs and projects when revenue collections exceed the resource targets or when additional grants or foreign funds are generated." These include appropriations for foreign-assisted projects of the Department of Transportation, and for the payment of pension arrearages of the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority under the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the Philippine National Police, Bureau of Fire Protection, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, and the Department of National Defense - AFP General Headquarters.

Allotments for other automatic appropriations accounted for ₱5.2 billion of the released budget, the DBM said.

The government operated on a reenacted budget during the first four months of the year due to the delay in the passage of the 2019 General Appropriations Bill. President Rodrigo Duterte only signed the measure in April after a four-month delay.