THE Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said it released 91.1% of this year’s P4.1-trillion spending plan as of the end of May.

According to DBM documents, the agency released P3.736 trillion of the total budget, leaving a balance of P363.993 billion to be released over the rest of the year.

Some 87.4% or P2.074 trillion was released to line agencies out of the reduced P2.374-trillion program for the year under the 2020 General Appropriations Act (GAA).

Some 49% or P228.663 billion was released to special purpose funds out of the programmed P466.462 billion for the year. The funds include budgetary support to state-owned firms, allocations to local government units (LGUs) and the contingent fund, among others.

Under automatic appropriations, 99.4% of the program or P1.259 trillion was released, including retirement and life insurance premium, internal revenue allotment of LGUs, the block grant to the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, pensions of former presidents and the special account in the general fund, among others.

Meanwhile, all P181.326 in other releases, including the P61.59 billion in the continuing appropriations under the 2019 GAA, have been released.

The DBM has also been realigning budget items to redirect funding to the coronavirus pandemic response from past priorities, as authorized by Republic Act No. 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal As One Act.

Budget adjustments made in May included a bigger cut in the Department of National Defense budget, reducing it further to P182.028 billion from P185 billion after the first round of adjustments in April.

The Budget department also further reduced the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) budget to P457.948 billion from the previously adjusted P458.948 billion. The DPWH received the largest budget cut of P123 billion.

The DBM also increased the funding for the Department of Labor and Employment to P19.9 billion from P18.9 billion as adjusted in April, and against the initial P17.423-billion program.

Meanwhile, the special fund for coronavirus pandemic expenses was increased to P3.647 billion in May from P1.407 billion in April. — Beatrice M. Laforga