SUBSIDIES to state-run corporations declined in February as fewer firms sought additional funding, the Bureau of the Treasury said.

Subsidies to government-owned or controlled corporations (GOCCs) totaled P2.769 billion for the month, down 70% from a year earlier.

More than half of February’s subsidy releases went to the National Irrigation Administration worth P1.746 billion, but this total was just about a third of the P4.472 billion it received a year earlier.

The Small Business Corp. received P208 million during the month, just half the P442 million subsidy given out in February 2018.

The Philippine Fisheries Development Authority received P205 million, up sharply from the P15 million granted a year earlier.

Other GOCCs which received subsidies were the Philippine Coconut Authority (P193 million); the Philippine Children’s Medical Center (P112 million), the Philippine Heart Center (P94 million), the National Kidney and Transplant Institute (P50 million); and the Philippine Rice Research Institute (P49 million).

In the first two months of 2019 subsidies totaled P3.564 billion, down sharply from the P10.048 billion worth of budgetary support provided a year earlier.

Subsidies to state-run firms form part of public expenditures. As a rule, GOCCs operate as self-sustaining entities. Those that generate profits return part of the proceeds to the treasury in the form of dividends, while those operating at a loss are given funding aid to sustain operations.

The national government is currently operating on a re-enacted 2018 budget, which leaves new programs and projects unfunded. The Department of Budget and Management has authorized the release of funds for employee salaries, maintenance and other operating expenses, and capital outlays during the first quarter of 2019 at a maximum of 25% of the full-year budgets for 2018.

The P3.757-trillion 2019 national budget is currently under review before President Rodrigo R. Duterte signs it into law, following a long-running stalemate between legislators. — Melissa Luz T. Lopez