MANILA – Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Wendel E. Avisado said during the virtual press briefing in Malacañang on Thursday, May 28, that they have discussed about the supplemental budget for the country’s response to Covid-19 pandemic but are constrained because of the absence of the source of funds.
Replying to a query by a member of the Malacañang Press Corp that “napag-usapan namin yan sa Economic Development Cluster at kahit sa BDCC ang posibilidad na maglahad tayo ng supplemental budget pero sa ngayon ay hindi pa natin gagawin yan dahil sa requirement na dapat mayroon tayong new source of revenues or taxes, at ang pangalawa, kung may excess sa revenue collection natin,” (we have talked about that with the Economic Development Cluster and even with the BDCC on the possibility of preparing a supplemental budget but now we cannot do so because of the requirement that there must be a new source of revenues or taxes, and second if we have excess funds in our revenue collections), Avisado said.
“So far, wala po, wala pong pagbabasihan sa ating supplemental budget,” (So far we haven’t got a basis for a supplemental budget), he further said.
Based on the financial report presented by Sec. Avisado during the press briefing, the country had allocated a total of Php 353,860,215,840.27 as of 28 May 2020 on Covid-19’s response. According to Avisado, the funds came from different sources such as Php 246,526,427,356 from Pooled Savings; Php 96,717,896,630 from Unprogrammed Appropriations; and, Php 10,615,891,854.25 from Reprogramming of Beneficiaries and Purposes of existing Programs, Activities and Projects.
Of this amount, a total of roughly Php343-billion have been released to pay for various Covid-19 related obligations of the government. Among the biggest spenders are the Social Amelioration Program with nearly Php 200-billion, Bayanihan Grant for Cities and Municipalities (Php 30-billion), Small Business Wage Subsidy Measures (Php 31-billion), and Supplemental Funding for the Health Sector (Php 45-billion).
Avisado reiterated the running order of President Duterte to DBM which is to find and reallocate available funds for what he calls “continuing saga of providing funding support to the government’s response to Covid-19 crisis.” He thanked the two houses of congress for considering the extension of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act of 2020 for another three months