P4.413B out of P140B Bayanihan 2 funds released to agencies, DBM says

Robie de Guzman   •   October 21, 2020   •   870

MANILA, Philippines – More than P4 billion worth of funds allocated for novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) response and recovery efforts have been released to government agencies, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said.

The DBM issued the statement on Tuesday after some senators slammed the agency for the slow release of funds under the Republic Act No. 11494 or the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Bayanihan 2), which aims to provide funds to assist sectors heavily hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) assures the Filipino people that it provides sufficient attention to the release of funds pursuant to Republic Act (RA) 11494 or the ‘Bayanihan to Recover as One Act’,” the department said.

It said that out of the P140 billion worth of COVID-19 related interventions, allotments amounting to P4.413 billion have already been released to the following agencies:

Department/AgencyAmount (in PhP)Purpose
Department of the Interior and Local Government2,522,660,000.00Hiring and training of contract tracers
Office of Civil Defense855,190,418.00Construction and maintenance of isolation facilities including billings of hotels, food and transportation
Bureau of the Treasury for the Local Government Units215,476,750.00COVID-19 Local Government Support Fund 
Department of Foreign Affairs820,000,000.00Assistance-to-Nationals Fund
Total4,413,327,168.00

“These releases were charged against the certified amount of the Bureau of the Treasury pursuant to Section 4(ss) of RA No. 11494,” the DBM said.

On the other hand, the release of funds for the following Departments/Agencies were already recommended to the Office of the President (OP):

Department/AgencyAmount (in PhP)Purpose
Department of Labor and Employment 8,000,000,000.00COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program and Tulong Panghanapbuhay Para sa Ating Displaced/Disadvantaged Workers (TUPAD) Program
Department of Social Welfare and Development6,000,000,000.00Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) and Sustainable Livelihood Program
Department of Agriculture11,632,000,000.00Implementation of the Plant, Plant, Plant Program
Department of Health20,575,952,000.00Health-related responses such as Human Resources for health, augmentation for operations of DOH hospitals, Special Risk Allowances, Actual Hazard Duty Pay, Free life insurance, accommodation, transportation and meals for health workers, and other compensation to public and private health workers, among others
Total46,207,952,000.00

“The approval from OP was sought considering that the funding source will be the balance of pooled savings under RA No. 11469 consistent with Section 11 of RA No. 11494 and that the authority to use savings was granted by Congress to the President of the Philippines,” the DBM said.

“The corresponding Special Allotment Release Orders (SAROs) will be released as soon as we receive the pertinent OP approvals,” it added.

As to the remaining balance of the allocated amounts, the DBM expects the respective departments/agencies to submit their corresponding budget requests, outlining the specific items of expenditures, targeted beneficiaries and expected outputs consistent with existing budgeting, accounting and auditing laws, rules and regulations and reflected through their respective Budget Execution Documents and Disbursement Programs.

“As soon as these requests are received, the DBM will immediately evaluate the same to ensure their alignment with the intention of RA No. 11494 and will recommend to the President the release of funds charged against the identified funding sources,” the department said.

The DBM also said it is in close coordination with the Bureau of the Treasury to ensure that the funding sources identified under RA No. 11494 are readily available to support the allotments that the department will issue to the respective departments/agencies.

“All allotments released pursuant to RA No. 11494 will be appropriately reported to Congress and the Commission on Audit, as well as to the general public through the DBM website,” it said.

Senators earlier called on the DBM to expedite the release of COVID-19 funds under Bayanihan 2 law before it expires on December 19, 2020.

President Rodrigo Duterte signed the law on Sept. 11.

Malacañang, however, expressed its belief that funds allotted for the implementation of COVID-19 measures under the Bayanihan 2 are beyond the law’s expiration. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Palace thanks Congress for speedy ratification of 2022 national budget

Robie de Guzman   •   December 16, 2021

Acting presidential spokesperson and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Thursday thanked Congress for its efforts to immediately ratify the proposed P5 trillion national budget for the year 2022.

“The Palace thanks Congress for working overtime to expeditiously ratify the proposed 2022 National Budget,” acting presidential spokesperson and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said in a statement.

Nograles said next year’s budget vital to the country’s response and recovery efforts amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“We consider next year’s budget vital to support our country’s COVID-19 resilience initiatives and to sustain our socioeconomic recovery efforts,” he said.

The Senate and the House of Representatives on Wednesday ratified the bicameral committee report on the proposed 2022 budget.

The country’s budget for next year will have as much as P50 billion for special risk allowances for medical frontliners, almost P48 billion for COVID-19 booster shots, and P15 billion to P16 billion for the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), based on portions approved by he House.

The measure will now be sent to President Rodrigo Duterte for his approval and signature.

“As we await its transmittal to the Office of the President, we reiterate our commitment to utilize our people’s hard-earned money to properly implement programs, projects, and services effectively and efficiently during the remainder of the President’s term of office,” Nograles said.

“We are grateful to our partners in the Legislature for ensuring that the Duterte Administration’s last full-year budget will sustain the legacy of real change for future generations,” he added.

Lawmakers earlier expressed hope that Duterte will sign the measure before the year ends to avoid a reenacted budget.

Congress ratifies Php5.024-T 2022 national budget

Maris Federez   •   December 15, 2021

 

MANILA, Philippines — The Senate of the Philippines and the House of Representatives on Wednesday (December 15) approved the bicameral conference committee report on the proposed ₱5.024-trillion national budget for 2022.

With its ratification by both houses of Congress, the bill will then be sent to President Rodrigo Duterte for signing into law.

Congress will go on session break effective Thursday as lawmakers go on break for the holidays.

A significant portion of the 2022 national budget, the Philippine government’s highest national expenditure plan in history — is allocated to the COVID-19 response and all other programs for economic recovery amid the pandemic.

Senate Committee on Finance chairperson Senator Sonny Angara has earlier said that the approved Bicameral Conference Committee report has adjusted the budget of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF ELCAC), the Department of Health (DOH), and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

Lawmakers restored the NTF ELCAC’s budget to the 16 or 16.5 billion-peso level.

Around 20 to 30 billion pesos were also added to the budget of the DOH.

“Tapos sa DOLE naglagay rin tayo ng testing for yung  naghahanap ng trabaho. Nakatutok na rin tayo sa economic recovery natin,” Angara said.

The Bicam report also included in the budget funding for COVID-19 vaccines estimated at 45 to 50 billion pesos as part of the government’s efforts in fighting the deadly disease as the country is gradually opening its economy. —/mbmf

House solons want Bicam to prioritize COVID-19 response budget in deliberation

Maris Federez   •   December 3, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Several members of the House of Representatives are hoping that the deliberation in the Bicameral Conference Committee will give priority to the COVID-19 response budget which they are pushing to receive bigger funding.

Bayan Muna Partylist Representative Carlos Zarate said that with the threat posed by the Omicron variant of the coronavirus disease, the government must set a bigger budget for a pandemic response for 2022.

“Nagluwag, pero eto may pumasok na naman. Itong Omicron variant na hindi pa natin alam kung ano ang magiging extent nung pananalasa nito. Kaya dapat lang talaga yung kalakhan ng budget ay nakatuon duon sa pandemic responses,” said Zarate.

In the Senate’s approved version of the Php5.024-trillion 2022 proposed national budget, the Department of Health budget was increased to Php230.11-billion. This is higher than the approved version of the House which is Php182.67-billion.

Senators realigned the budget of other government agencies to fund the benefits and compensation of healthcare workers.

Zarate said the Bicam must make some more cuts on the budget that the Senate has approved for the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) amounting to around Php10-billion from the Php4-billion that the Upper Chamber has initially allotted to the said task force.

Zarate said the budget that is to be slashed from NTF-ELCAC must be added to the funds to be used in the COVID-19 response.

House Committee on Appropriations chairperson Representative Eric Go Yap said that even if there are contradicting provisions in the two versions, they will see to it that the 2022 budget will give weight to the COVID-19 response.

“While there may be conflicting provisions between the two, rest assured that our common end goal is to submit a budget that will sustain our COVID-19 response efforts while supporting our gradual transition to full recovery,” Yap said.

The national budget is targeted to be submitted to the Office of the President before December 25 for President Rodrigo Duterte. —/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Nel Maribojoc)

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