COVID fund releases hit P389B


    The government’s fund releases for its coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) response have amounted to P389.06 billion, according to data from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

    The amount accounts for total COVID-19 allotments to agencies as of August 28, the DBM data posted on its website showed.

    The Department of Social Welfare and Development accounted for the largest amount with P211.6 billion, followed by the Department of Finance with P88.13 billion and Department of Health with P48.98 billion.

    The Department of Labor and Employment had a share of P12.58 billion; Department of Agriculture, P11.39 billion; Department of Education, P10.91 billion; Department of Public Works and Highways, P2.7 billion; and Department of National Defense, P1.36 billion.

    Other agencies include Department of the Interior and Local Government (P747.92 million), University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital (P400 million), Department of Trade and Industry (P203 million), Department of Science and Technology (P53.23 million), Department of Foreign Affairs (P5.09 million), and Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (P500,000).

    In terms of funding source, P266.53 billion came from discontinued programs, activities and projects; P20.48 billion from the regular agency budget; and P102.06 billion from special purpose funds.

    Over the weekend, the National Economic and Development Authority said 19 official development assistance (ODA) loans and grants amounting to $10.94 billion have been added to the country’s total ODA portfolio in support of the government’s efforts to address the COVID-19 pandemic and to mitigate its economic impact.

    Karl Kendrick Chua, acting socioeconomic planning secretary, said in a statement the government needed to borrow more in 2020 to help fund emergency response, social protection programs and other related expenditures that would provide immediate relief to Filipinos affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.