GOVERNMENT subsidies to state firms rose 179% in September, with more than half going to the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (Philhealth).

According to the Bureau of the Treasury, the total subsidies remitted by the national government to government-owned and -controlled corporations (GOCC) hit P54.7 billion that month, from P19.58 billion a year earlier.

In the nine months to September, total subsidies amounted to P151.5 billion.

Philhealth received 54.7% of the September total with P29.76 billion, up 461% from a year earlier.

This was followed by the subsidies granted to the Land Bank of the Philippines at P12 billion, up 142.42% and the P7.54 billion extended to the National Irrigation Administration, up 56.11% year-on-year.

Other GOCCs that received subsidies during the month were Small Business Corp. at P1.25 billion, Philippine Coconut Authority P726 million, National Food Authority P668 million and Philippine Crop Insurance Corp. P581 million.

The government extends subsidies to state corporations to cover their operational expenses that are not supported by the revenue they generate.

Meanwhile, state firms that did not receive budgetary assistance from the national government during the month were Philippine Fisheries Development Authority, Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority, Philippine Center for Economic Development, Philippine National Railway, National Housing Authority, National Electrification Administration, Development Academy of the Philippines, and National Home Mortgage Finance Corp.

The government allotted P187.1 billion this year for subsidies to GOCCs. — Beatrice M. Laforga