MANILA — The government has already released P77.98 billion to various agencies for their programs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Bayanihan 2), the Department of Budget and Management said Thursday.
The law, which allocates a total of P140 billion to help sectors affected by the health crisis, will expire Dec. 19. It also earmarks P25 billion in standby funds should the government need more money to finance COVID-19-related projects.
In a press statement, the DBM said P76.22 billion of the released funds were from the fund allocated by the law, while P1.75 billion are charged from this year's budget allocation of the respective government agencies, pursuant to Section 4(rr) of the same law.
“This came after the President delegated to the DBM Secretary the authority to approve budget requests under Bayanihan 2 in order to facilitate the immediate release of funds, among others,” the statement read.
President Rodrigo Duterte’s gave Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado on Tuesday the authority to release pandemic funds previously stalled in his office.
The Department of Health (DOH) received the biggest amount of P20.5 billion for, among others, the hiring of health workers, special risk allowances and hazard duty pay to health workers, and augmentation for operations of DOH hospitals.
The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) took the second biggest, worth P13.1 billion, for various cash-for-work programs.
The Department of Agriculture and three of its agencies (Bureau of Soils and Water Management, Agricultural Credit Policy Council, and National Meat Inspection Service) all got P12.032 billion to support agri-fishery enterprises, farmers and fisherfolk.
The following agencies also received funds:
- Department of the Interior and Local Government (P2.5 billion)
- Office of Civil Defense (P855 million)
- Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) - Local Government units (P461 milling)
- BTr - Development Bank of the Philippines (P1 billion)
- BTr - Land Bank of the Philippines (P1 billion)
- BTr - Small Business Corporations (P8.08 billion)
- Department of Foreign Affairs (P820 million)
- Professional Regulation Commission (P2.5 million)
- Department of Social Welfare and Development (P6 billion)
- Department of Transportation (P9.6 billion)
- Department of Trade and Industry (P100 million)
- Philippine Sports Commission (P180 million)
The P1.75 billion released under Sec. 4(rr) of the Bayanihan 2, meanwhile, is broken down as follows:
- P994.75 million for the Department of Public Works and Highways
- P28.37 million for the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process
- P730 million for the Department of Health
The DBM said it expects implementing agencies awaiting their allocations from the balance of the P140 billion to submit their budget requests with complete supporting documents.
Bayanihan 2 is the Philippines' second COVID-19 emergency measure
The measure will expire on Dec. 19 when Congress goes on a month-long break for the Christmas and New Year holidays.
Last week, Duterte said that funds under the two Bayanihan Acts were being "spent wisely."