P189-B Unreleased Funds Can Be Used To Fund COVID-19 Response

P189-B Unreleased Funds Can Be Used To Fund COVID-19 Response

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The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has identified unreleased appropriations amounting to PHP189.82 billion that may be discontinued under the 2019 and 2020 national budgets to fund the government’s response against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.

This was disclosed in the second weekly report submitted by President Rodrigo Duterte to Congress on his use of special powers to address the Covid-19 crisis.

According to the report, the unreleased appropriations of PHP189.82 billion were sourced from the Personal Services (PS), Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses (MOOE), Financial Expenses (FinEx), and Capital Outlay (CO) items under the 2019 continuing appropriations and 2020 General Appropriations Act.

Duterte said the line departments are also assisting the DBM in determining their respective programs, projects, and activities that can be discontinued to generate savings to augment Covid-19 response measures.

As of April 3, the DBM reported that additional cash allocations worth PHP5.182 billion were released to the following departments to cover their Covid-19 response activities, namely: the Department of Health (DOH) at PHP600 million; Department of Social Welfare and Development at PHP3.9 billion; Department of the Interior and Local Government at PHP520.62 million; Department of Science and Technology at PHP53.23 million; and Department of Labor and Employment at PHP100 million.

As for unutilized funds sourced from collections or receipts, the Land Bank of the Philippines has remitted cash balances from various government agencies amounting to PHP12.13 billion to the Bureau of the Treasury, unutilized Unconditional Cash Transfer (UCT) funds amounting to PHP5.5 billion, and the unutilized balance of Letter of Credit procured by the DOH and Armed Forces of the Philippines in the amount of PHP4.4 billion.

Meanwhile, Duterte reported that the Department of Finance has collected dividend contributions in the amount of PHP78.64 billion from 12 government-owned and controlled corporations to fund the government’s Covid-19 response.

He noted that a total of PHP100 billion in allotments has already been released to the DSWD as of April 1 to cover the funding requirements for the social amelioration program.

Under the law, the executive department must submit a weekly report to Congress, every Monday, detailing how he used his special powers to address Covid-19.

The report must include the amount and corresponding utilization of funds used, augmented, reprogrammed, reallocated, and realigned. (PNA)

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