The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has released P355.1 billion for COVID-19 response to date with cash aid to vulnerable sectors eating up bulk of the funds.

In a June 9 report, the DBM said P199.9 billion of the allotments released so far went to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

The DSWD was in charge of disbursing cash grants to poor households and vulnerable sectors under the social amelioration program (SAP) of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) got P7.6 billon while the Department of Finance (DOF), P88.5 billion. The two agencies were in charge of cash aid for displaced domestic and Filipino workers abroad.

The Department of Health (DOH) has received P48.2 billion this week on top of P400 million given to the University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH).

The other agencies that got COVID-19 funds included:

  • Department of Agriculture, P8.5 billion
  • Department of Interior and Local Government, P641.1 million
  • Department of National Defense, P974.6 million
  • Department of Foreign Affairs, P5.1 million
  • Department of Trade and Industry, P203 million
  • Department of Science and Technology, P52.2 million
  • Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, P500,000

At least P246.6 billion of the money disbursed by the DBM came from discontinued programs, activities and projects from which funds were taken for COVID-19 response. At least P215.9 billion of the funds were from the 2020 national budget and P30.7 billion from continuing appropriations for 2019.

Regular agency budgets amounted to P10.2 billion, while special purpose funds—calamity funds, contingent funds, and unprogrammed appropriations—accounted for P98.2 billion.

The Bayanihan law had empowered the President to juggle funds to better respond to the health and socioeconomic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In turn, budgets of infrastructure, education and defense agencies had suffered big cuts.

At a Senate hearing last May, Budget Secretary Wendel E. Avisado explained that budget cuts were inflicted on programs, activities and projects that have not started and could be postponed to 2021.

Edited by TSB



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