BUDGETARY support to state-owned firms released in May rose nearly 467% after the release of the second tranche of the wage subsidy program, the Bureau of the Treasury said.

The national government released P29.799 billion worth of subsidies to government-owned and -controlled corporations (GOCCs) last month, up 468.79% year on year.

Around 84% or P25.5 billion went to the Social Security System (SSS), the main implementing agency of the wage subsidy program for the employees of small businesses.

The wage subsidy program provides between P5,000 and P8,000 monthly depending on the prevailing minimum wage to employees of small firms, and is designed to help such businesses pay their workforces for two months during the lockdown.

The government also released P25.5 billion in April to the SSS.

The National Irrigation Administration received P1.806 billion, down from the P1.828 billion a year earlier.

The National Power Corp. (NPC) received P936 million; the National Food Authority P600 million, up from P243 million a year earlier; the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) P237 million; the Philippine Heart Center P118 million, up from P74 million previously; and the Philippine Children’s Medical Center P106 million, up from the year-earlier P67 million.

NPC and LWUA did receive subsidies in May 2019.

In the five months to May, the government extended P100.369 billion worth of subsidies to GOCCs.

State-owned firms that did not receive subsidies that month were the National Electrification Administration, the Intercontinental Broadcasting Corporation and the Small Business Corp.

The budget for subsidies to GOCCs this year was reduced by P5.1 billion to P191 billion after the government realigned the national budget to fund its pandemic containment effort.

The government subsidizes GOCCs to cover operational expenses not supported by their revenue. — Beatrice M. Laforga