Where did funds from 2019, 2020 budgets for coronavirus response go?

Michael Bueza
Where did funds from 2019, 2020 budgets for coronavirus response go?
As of May 27, at least P353.86 billion has been released from available funds in the two national budgets to fund coronavirus-related measures

MANILA, Philippines – The government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic has entailed billions of pesos being set aside to fund different measures and programs.

The Bayanihan to Heal as One Act or Republic Act No. 11469 enabled the Duterte administration to discontinue some projects and reallocate appropriations of some budget items to respond to the crisis.

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) reported that as of May 27, around P353.86 billion has been sourced from available funds in the national budget of the current and previous years.

Where have these funds gone, exactly? The DBM released a document breaking down these fund releases. Here are the agencies that received the funds.

Foremost among these funds is the nearly P200 billion given to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) for the government’s emergency subsidy program for affected families, plus a combined P3.9 billion for the Kalahi-CIDSS program as well as for other programs and services.

The Social Security System (SSS) also received P51 billion to fund its subsidy program for small businesses

Around P48.13 billion has been released to the Department of Health (DOH) so far, including P1.8 billion for the procurement of RT-PCR testing kits. There is also a separate release worth P53 million to the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) to produce testing kits for 26,000 tests.

Meanwhile, P37 billion went to local government units, through the Bureau of the Treasury, in the form of grants under the Bayanihan law.

P8.5 billion went to the Department of Agriculture for its Ahon Lahat, Pagkaing Sapat Kontra COVID-19 (ALPAS COVID-19) program.

A total of P7.57 billion has been given to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to fund its assistance to affected workers. (LIST: Government assistance for workers, businesses affected by lockdown)

More details about these fund releases are in the table below. 

How the funds were pooled

Of the total funds released so far from the two budgets, around P246.53 billion was taken from discontinued programs and projects. However, there is no full list yet of the items from the 2020 and 2019 budgets that had been discontinued to pool this amount. (EXPLAINER: What we know so far: Funding the fight vs the coronavirus)

Meanwhile, P96.72 billion was from unprogrammed appropriations, specifically from “excess revenue from actual dividend collections of the Bureau of the Treasury” from government-owned or controlled corporations, explained the DBM. The amount funded the P45.72-billion allocation for the health department’s programs under the Bayanihan Law and the P51-billion SSS subsidy program.

In addition, P10.62 billion was taken from realigned or recategorized items in the 2020 budget and in continuing appropriations from the 2019 budget. This was obtained from the agencies’ regular budgets, from special purpose funds like the calamity fund and contingent fund, as well as from trust receipts. – Rappler.com

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Michael Bueza

Michael is a data curator under Rappler's Tech Team. He works on data about elections, governance, and the budget. He also follows the Philippine pro wrestling scene and the WWE. Michael is also part of the Laffler Talk podcast trio.