By Chino S. Leyco
State subsidies to government owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs) declined in January, but bulk of its financial aid was granted to support the Duterte administration’s irrigation and health programs, data from the Bureau of the Treasury showed.
Based on the treasury’s cash operations report, the national government spent P795 million in subsidies in January, the lowest for the month since President Duterte took office and a decrease of 14 percent compared with P922 million in the same month last year.
Of the total subsidies, more than half of it or P435 million went to the National Irrigation Administration (NIA).
In 2017, President Duterte stopped the NIA, an agency responsible for irrigation development in the country, from collecting the irrigation service fee from farmers.
Aside from NIA, other government corporations that heavily depend on subsidies were the public hospitals, which cornered P208 million of the total expenses in the first month of 2019.
Topping the list of government hospitals that received subsidies was the Philippine Heart Center with P74 million, followed by the Philippine Children Medical Center with P67 million, the National Kidney and Transplant Institute with P50 million and Lung Center of the Philippines with P17 million.
Other GOCCs that received their subsidies were Philippine Rice Research Institute (P49 million), Cultural Center of the Philippines (P24 million), Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions and Philippine Institute for Development Studies with P11 million each, as well as the National Dairy Authority (P9 million).
The Philippine Institute of Traditional and Alternative Health Care, and People’s Television Network also received P6 million each, while the Credit Information Corp. and Light Rail Transit System got P5 million each.
On the other hand, the government granted P4 million each for the Southern Philippines Development Authority, and Zamboanga City Special Economic Zone Authority in January.
In 2018, the national government disbursed P136.65 billion in subsidies to GOCCs, bulk of which went to national health programs, up by 4.2 percent from P131.08 billion in the previous year.
This is, however, lower than the P162.55 billion subsidies programmed for the whole year.