2021 budget disbursement by gov’t ‘dismal’ at 31.5% | Inquirer News
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2021 budget disbursement by gov’t ‘dismal’ at 31.5%

By: - Reporter / @deejayapINQ
/ 04:49 AM November 24, 2021
Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon (Screen grab/Senate PRIB)

MANILA, Philippines — Less than a third of this year’s P4.5-trillion budget has been disbursed or paid out for government projects, requiring Congress to extend the life span of the 2021 appropriations by another year, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said on Tuesday.

“That means for every P1,000 the Congress appropriated, only P300 [has been] disbursed this year,” he said, lamenting the national government’s dismal 31.5-percent disbursement rate.

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Public funds are first “obligated” by agencies when contracts for government projects are signed and then “disbursed” when the money is paid to suppliers.

Drilon said he supported the move in the House of Representatives to prolong the availability of the 2021 spending law until the end of 2022.

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On Monday, the House approved on second reading a measure amending the General Appropriations Act of 2021 to extend the availability of funds by another 12 months.

“I support the extension of the availability of the 2021 national budget until December 2022 in view of a dismal disbursement rate of 31.5 percent due to COVID-19 pandemic,” Drilon said.

According to him, the extension of the national budget should carry with it a “tall order to every agency to make sure that every peso that is appropriated is spent in a judicious and timely manner.”

“Underspending is like a disease that impedes our growth. I urge Congress to carry out its oversight of the national budget and monitor the spending of the budget,” Drilon said.

The current disbursement rate, he added, was unacceptable in view of 4.2 million Filipino families experiencing involuntary hunger and 4 million Filipinos now unemployed.

“We should use the budget in order to generate economic activities, feed Filipinos and create jobs amid the pandemic,” Drilon said.

The chair of the Senate finance panel, Sen. Juan Edgardo Angara, also expressed his support for an extension to the 2021 budget.

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“Yes, I personally support that, because some projects are delayed or have not begun because of lockdowns and other factors,” he said, noting that this had been the practice in the past three years.

The government is using a cash-based budgeting system, in which it has only one year to release and spend funds for the procurement of budgetary items or risk losing the money, which will have to be returned to the national treasury.

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TAGS: COVID-19 response, Franklin Drilon, government budget disbursement
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