BUDGET SUPPORT to state-owned companies dropped 88% in September, with the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) and Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) receiving the biggest amounts, the Bureau of the Treasury said.

According to the Treasury, the government released P7.153 billion in subsidies to government-owned and -controlled corporations (GOCCs) that month, against the year-earlier total of P60.275 billion. The September total however was larger than the P4.99 billion released in August.

The NIA received P2.623 billion, down 65% year on year, followed by the BCDA with P1.03 billion, up 744%. Subsidies to the two GOCCs accounted for half of the total.

Some of the other top recipients were the National Power Corp. with P753 million, National Home Mortgage Finance Corp. P463 million, the National Electrification Administration P358 million, the Philippine Crop Insurance Corp. P353 million, the Philippine Fisheries Development Authority P236 million, and the Social Housing Finance Corp. P232 million.

In the nine months to September, GOCC subsidies rose 27% to P199.606 billion.

The Social Security System received the largest subsidy in the year to date of P51 billion, after it implemented the government’s wage subsidy program for employers that agree to retain their workers.

The National Food Authority, Philippine Health Insurance Corp., and NIA were also among the top beneficiaries during the period, with P37.65 billion, P30.45 billion and P24.97 billion, respectively.

The government’s budget for GOCC subsidies this year was trimmed by P5.1 billion to P191 billion after funds were diverted to support the pandemic containment effort.

The government subsidizes state-run firms to cover operational expenses not supported by their revenue. — Beatrice M. Laforga