The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) during the first quarter released 78.4 percent or P3.22 trillion of the P4.1-trillion budget funds available for this year.

For funds under the 2020 General Appropriations Act (GAA) or Republic Act (RA) No. 11465, allotment releases from January to March amounted to P1.95 trillion or 68.3 percent of the P2.85-trillion program.

Comprehensive releases to government departments as of March reached P1.84 trillion or 77.1 percent of the programmed P2.38 trillion.

As for special purpose funds, P111.9 billion or 23.9 percent of the P467.4 billion allotted for 2020 were already released.

Automatic appropriations—programmed over a period prescribed by law through outstanding legislation requiring periodic action by Congress—worth P1.24 billion or 99 percent of the P1.25-trillion program for this year were released during the three-month period.

These automatic appropriations included retirement and life insurance premiums, internal revenue allotment (IRA) for local government units (LGUs), a block grant for the newly formed Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), pensions of former presidents and their widows, a special account in the general fund, net lending, interest payments, as well as releases under the tax expenditures’ fund (TEF) for customs duties and taxes to be paid for government importation.

As such, P3.18 trillion or 77.7 percent of the original P4.1-trillion spending program for 2020 were released at end-March.

Also released during the first three months were P31.5 billion in other releases, including P9.4 billion from 2019’s continuing appropriations, of which P6.2 billion were for departments on top of P3.2 billion in special-purpose funds.

Released for unprogrammed appropriations were P21.2 billion plus P808.7 million in other automatic appropriations for grants and donations as well as the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ (AFP) modernization program.

President Duterte had extended the validity of the P3.7-trillion 2019 budget until this year as approval of last year’s appropriations was late by four-and-a-half months.

Still pending release was a balance of P883.7 billion.

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