The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) on Thursday said there is no delay in the release of crucial funds allocated for pandemic-hit sectors under the Bayanihan to Recover as One or Bayanihan 2 Act.
In a Palace press briefing, Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado said some PHP46 billion worth of funds are now up for President Rodrigo Duterte’s approval before they can be distributed to various government agencies.
These include PHP8 billion for the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), PHP6 billion for the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), PHP11.6 billion for the Department of Agriculture (DA), and PHP20.5 billion for the Department of Health (DOH).
Avisado noted that the request for funds provided under the Bayanihan 2 law undergoes a process, wherein agencies have to submit requirements–such as budget execution documents pertaining to their financial plans and monthly disbursement programs–that shall be evaluated by the DBM before being endorsed to the President for approval.
“Wala pong bottlenecks po. Proseso lang po ang sinusunod natin. Kapag po kumpleto lahat ng dokumento, inaakyat po kaagad natin iyan sa Office of the President for the corresponding approval (There are no bottlenecks. We are just following a process. Once all the documents are complete, we immediately elevate them to the Office of the President for the corresponding approval),” Avisado said. “So hindi po dini-delay (So it is not being delayed).”
Avisado said the Bureau of Treasury has certified that funds are available.
Aside from the PHP46 billion, Avisado said another PHP24 billion are being processed by the DBM.
To date, only PHP4 billion has been released to government agencies out of the PHP165.5-billion worth of stimulus funds allotted under the Bayanihan 2 law.
The stimulus package consists of PHP140 billion of regular appropriations and an additional standby fund of PHP25.5 billion.
“So, lahat po ng ito ay ini-evaluate po at hindi naman sila nawawalan ng pondo po. Iyan ay hinding-hindi mangyayari dahil habang pino-process po namin ang request nila, mayroon po silang pera pang nagagastos dahil po binabantayan po namin talaga na kahit na anong oras mayroon po silang pera habang pino-process po iyong additional (all these are being evaluated and they will not run out of funds. It will not happen because while their requests are being processed, they still have money for expenditures, we make sure that they have money while additional funds are being processed),” Avisado said.
Meanwhile, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Office of the Executive Secretary is ensuring that the funds are indeed needed before approving the requests.
But the assurance is, the money is there and DBM is able and ready to issue what is known as the SARO [Special Allotment Release Order],” Roque said. (PNA)