Gov’t agencies urged to use funds for Covid-19 response

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has started coordinating with national government agencies to utilize all released allotments from the 2019 and 2020 national budgets to fund response activities against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).

This was disclosed in the first weekly report submitted by President Rodrigo Duterte to Congress pursuant to the recently-signed Bayanihan to Heal as One Act.

The report particularly noted that the following agencies can allocate the released allotments–originally intended for other projects–to Covid-19 response:

PHP108.765 billion for Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, PHP23.18 billion for Social Pension for Indigent Filipino Citizens, PHP6.6 billion for Assistance for Indigents in Crisis Situations (AICS), and PHP1.25 billion for Quick Response Fund (QRF) under the Department of Social Welfare and Development; PHP9.44 billion for Medical Assistance to Indigent Patients (MAIP), and PHP500 million for QRF under the Department of Health; and PHP4.357 billion for Tulong Pangkabuhayan sa ating Disadvantaged or Displaced Workers Program and Government Internship Program (TUPAD-GIP) under the Department of Labor and Employment.

The Department of Science and Technology has already allotted PHP53.2 million to fund the University of the Philippines (UP)-developed diagnostic kits to detect Covid-19.

According to the report, no appropriated programs, projects or activities have been discontinued yet as of March 27.

However, the DBM has already started preparing a master list of all items categorized as “for later release” under the Agency-Specific Budgets from the 2020 national budget.

The list would be used to identify the government programs, projects, and activities that will be directly affected by any discontinuance order; as well as items that may be excluded from such order due to their importance to existing Covid-19 response activities.

The DBM is also preparing an initial master list of all unreleased appropriations under the Special Purpose Funds (SPFs), estimated at PHP372.719 billion.

“As of 27 March 2020, no SPFs have been utilized for Covid-19 measures except for the PHP500-million replenishment of the DOH’s Quick Response Fund, which is charged against the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Fund,” the report reads.

The report stated that funds are yet to be reprogrammed, reallocated or, realigned pending the submission of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) of its final budgetary requirements, especially on the social amelioration measures.

Under the law, the executive department must submit a weekly report to Congress, every Monday, detailing how he used his special powers to address Covid-19.

The report must include the amount and corresponding utilization of funds used, augmented, reprogrammed, reallocated, and realigned

Source: Philippines News Agency

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