BUDGETARY SUPPORT for state-owned firms rose 50% to P44.687 billion in May after the government increased its subsidies for the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) to help it deal with pandemic payouts, the Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) reported.

According to preliminary data from the BTr, subsidies to government-owned and -controlled corporations (GOCCs) last month rose 87.5% from April.

PhilHealth received 82% of the total or P36.502 billion that month, against the P1 million it was granted in May 2020.

The National Irrigation Administration got P3.394 billion, the National Housing Authority P1.952 billion, and the Philippine Crop Insurance Corp. P1.751 billion.

Other GOCCs that received subsidies were the National Dairy Authority (P205 million), Development Academy of the Philippines (P179 million), the Philippine Heart Center (P147 million), the Lung Center of the Philippines (P109 million) and the National Kidney Transplant Institute (P107 million).

Receiving no subsidies were the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority, National Food Authority, Philippine National Railways, Philippine Postal Corp., Small Business Corp., Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, and Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority.

Total subsidies for GOCCs amounted to P79.942 billion in the five months to May, down 7.75% from a year earlier. The five-month tally accounted for 53.95% of the government’s P148.188-billion budget for subsidies for 2021.

PhilHealth has received the most subsidies so far with P45.46 billion.

GOCC subsidies from the government are meant to cover operational expenses not supported by their revenue. — Luz Wendy T. Noble