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DBM releases P1.3 trillion during Congressional budget impasse

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The delay in passing the 2019 budget forced the government to make do with the previous year’s spending plan for three and a half months. -- OFFICIAL GAZETTE

THE Department of Budget and management (DBM) said it released P1.323 trillion in the four months to April while the government was operating mostly under a re-enacted 2018 budget, including a record unprogrammed release for transportation projects.

The DBM said unprogrammed appropriations, which fall under additional releases, amounted to P9.86 billion — the largest amount released for a specific purpose.

The DBM said in a statement that the P9.86 billion was used to “support foreign-assisted projects of the Department of Transportation.”

“These funds covered loan proceeds requirements for the implementation of the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 Rehabilitation Project and Phase I of the North-South Commuter Railway Project,” the DBM said.

Also classified under additional releases was P4.27 billion from the continuing General Appropriations Act (GAA) of 2018, with departments getting P1.18 billion and special purpose funds (SPFs) P3.09 billion.

“Under the continuing appropriations of the 2018 GAA, P4.27 billion have been released. In addition to releases from SPFs, funds allocated to the Department of Public Works and Highways, the Department of Health, among other agencies were also included,” the DBM said.




The delay in passing the 2019 budget forced the government to make do with the previous year’s spending plan for three and a half months, dampening project spending on items that were not funded in 2018 and holding back economic growth.

A total of P494.98 million was alloted for other automatic appropriations, released from grants, donations and the Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Program.

Releases made under the reenacted budget of 2018 amounted to P6.97 billion.

Some P6.42 billion of the reenacted GAA 2018 went to the executive branch, Congress, the Judiciary, and constitutional offices. — Reicelene Joy N. Ignacio