DBM: Over ₱600B released for COVID-19 response under Bayanihan laws

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 12) — The Department of Budget and Management said it has released ₱646.97 billion for coronavirus pandemic response under the Bayanihan stimulus packages.

“As of April 15, 2021, the Department of Budget and Management has released a total of ₱646.97 billion to support the implementation of various projects, activities and programs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic under the Bayanihan Laws,” it said in a statement.

Broken down, the agency said ₱387.17 billion was part of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, or Bayanihan 1. Implementing agencies said they have obligated the amount of ₱358.24 billion and disbursed ₱339.65 billion. The agency notes that this translates to an obligation rate of 92.53% and disbursement rate of 94.81%.

For Bayanihan to Recover as One Act, or Bayanihan 2, total released amount reached ₱259.80 billion, of which ₱132.65 billion obligated and only ₱93.31 billion disbursed. This translates to 51.06% obligation rate and 70.34% disbursement rate.

In addition, the Budget department also released ₱6.46 billion for various pandemic programs upon the expiration of Bayanihan 1 in June 2020. Of this, ₱4.17 billion has been obligated (64.56%) and ₱3.22 billion disbursed (77.28%). These were charged against regular funds under the 2020 national budget, it noted.

Agencies may still utilize last year’s allocation until end of the year in accordance with Republic Act No. 11465 that extended its validity, DBM added.

Meanwhile, validity of the Bayanihan 2 was extended until June 30, 2021 as stated under Republic Act 11519.

Last year, President Rodrigo Duterte approved measures that allocated funds for programs for financial assistance and expansion of healthcare capacity to address the adverse effects of the global health crisis.

Currently, lawmakers are moving to pass a third COVID-19 stimulus package that will allot ₱216 billion for a ₱2,000-cash aid for every Filipino, regardless of age or social status, to help them cope with the effects of the pandemic. The move is being challenged because of uncertainties on fund sources, with some suggesting to realign monies for public programs that can be delayed until next year.

READ: Each Filipino may get ₱2,000 'ayuda' under the proposed Bayanihan 3, solon says