P77.98 B released to fight COVID-19 –Duterte

Published November 4, 2020, 12:00 AM

by Genalyn Kabiling

The government has so far released around P77.98 billion worth of funds to sustain massive efforts to contain the  coronavirus outbreak, President Duterte said in his latest report to Congress.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte (ARMAN BAYLON/ PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO)

Of these funds, the President said P76.2 billion for various government agencies came from the Bayanihan 2 law and P1.7 billion additional release for state offices from the 2020 national budget.

“The government shall sustain and continue to strengthen our capabilities to implement programs and projects which among others seek to reduce the adverse socioeconomic impact of COVID-19; enhance the capacity of the Philippine health care system to control and eliminate COVID-19, and enhance fiscal and monetary policies to sustain COVID-19 measures,” the President said in his second monthly report on the implementation of Bayanihan 2 law.

Out of the P140 billion funds under Bayanihan 2 law, Duterte said the Department of Budget and Management has released P76,228,874,712 to several government agencies for their COVID-related programs as of Oct. 29.

The bulk of the funds went to the Department of Health at P20.57 billion for its various programs to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

The Department of Labor and Employment had the second biggest allotment with P13.1 billion for its programs and projects for workers, followed by the Department of Agriculture with P12.03 billion for its agriculture stimulus package.

The Department of Transportation received P9.5 billion for its intervention measures to aid the transport industry while the Department of Finance got P8.08 billion for the implementation of the COVID-19 Assistance to Restart Enterprises (CARES) program and other lending and subsidy programs. 

At least P6 billion went to the Department of Social Welfare and Development for its COVID-19 response and recovery interventions.

For the hiring and training of contact workers, the Department of Interior and Local Government was given P2.52 billion.

The finance department also received P1 billion for the subsidy for the payment of interest on loans by LGUs from Development Bank of the Philippines. Another P1 billion was released for the subsidy on loan payment from the Land Bank of the Philippines.

The Department of National Defense-Office of Civil Defense received P855.1 million for the operating requirements of COVID-19 facilities.

Around P820 million went to the Department of Foreign Affairs to augment its assistance to Filipinos overseas.

The DOF obtained another P451 million to support the priority programs of local government units.

The Philippine Sports Commission got P180 million for the allowances of athletes and coaches while the Department of Trade and Industry secured P100 million for the Balik Probinsya program through the shared service facilities project.

The DOLE-Professional Regulation Commission received P2.5 million to implement the computer-based licensure examination.

According to the President, the latest fund releases represented 54.45 percent of the P140 billion allocation under the Bayanihan 2 law. These were based on the budget requests submitted by the agencies to the DBM.

“Additional releases will be made as soon as the corresponding budget requests, together with the necessary supporting documents are submitted, consistent with existing budgeting laws, rules and regulations,” Duterte said.

The President earlier gave the DBM  the authority to approve fund releases from the Bayanihan 2 law after some lawmakers expressed concern about the delay in the releases.

Apart from the Bayanihan 2 funds, Duterte said the budget department has released P1,753,163,545 in additional funds against the available sources under the 2020 national budget.

He said the Department of Public Works and Highways received P994.7 million to replenish its quick response fund. 

Around P730 million went to the DOH to fund the Health System Enhancement to Address and Limit COVID-19 project under a loan from the Asian Development Bank.

The Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process received P28.7 million to support the engagement of Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., also the national COVID plan chief implementer.