The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said more than P4.4 billion has been released to departments and agencies for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)-response efforts, under the Bayanihan to Recover As One Act.
The DBM said in a statement Tuesday evening that out of the P140 billion worth of COVID-19 related interventions, it has already released allotments amounting to P4.413 billion to several departments and agencies.
That is about 3 percent of the total allotment.
Specifically, more than P2.5 billion has been released to the Department of the Interior and Local Government for the hiring and training of contact tracers; P855 million to the Office of Civil Defense for the construction and maintenance of isolation facilities including billings of hotels, food and transportation; P215 million to the Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) for local government units for the COVID-19 Local Government Support Fund; and P820 million to the Department of Foreign Affairs for the Assistance-to-Nationals Fund.
“The DBM assures the Filipino people that it provides sufficient attention to the release of funds pursuant to Republic Act No. 11494 or the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act,” the agency said.
Meanwhile, the release of funds to some departments amounting to P46.2 billion was recommended to the Office of the President (OP).
“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 corresponding Special Allotment Release Orders will be released as soon as we receive the pertinent OP approvals,” the DBM said.
As to the remaining balance of the allocated amounts, the agency said it 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,” it said.
The DBM added it is closely coordinating with the BTr to ensure that funding sources identified under RA No. 11494 are readily available to support the allotments that the department will issue to the respective departments or 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,” the DBM said.