The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has released P3.51 trillion of the 2021 budget in the first quarter, data showed on Wednesday.

Data from the Budget department showed that allotment releases in January-March was already 78 percent of the P4.50-trillion programmed budget of the government. The latest figure was higher than the P3.21 trillion released in the first three months of 2020.

Of the total, P2.29 trillion went to line departments, which include funds allocated to agencies and other constitutional offices.

A total of P115.99 billion was released as special purpose funds (SPFs), which are budgetary allocations in the General Appropriations Act for specific socioeconomic purposes.

These are usually lump sum in nature, as the recipient agencies and/or specific programs and projects were not identified during the budget’s preparation and legislation. SPFs are used as budgetary support for government corporations; allocation to local government units; and contingency, miscellaneous personnel benefit, and national disaster risk reduction and management; and pension and gratuity funds.

Allotment releases for automatic appropriations or appropriations programmed annually reached P1 trillion. These include P56.36 billion for retirement and life insurance premiums, P695.49 billion for internal revenue allotment, P71.66 billion for block grant, P480,000 for pension of ex-presidents and widows of former presidents, P30.39 for special account for the general fund, P7.17 billion for net lending, P132.88 billion for interest payments, and P6.84 billion for tax expenditures fund/customs duties ad taxes.

Other releases amounted to P99.77 billion, which includes 2020 continuing appropriations, unprogrammed appropriations, and other automatic appropriations.

The national government has said the P4.50-trillion national budget will help the country fight and recover from the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic.

The 2021 appropriations is meant to help the country address the pandemic, rebound by boosting infrastructure development and by generating job opportunities, and rebuild by assisting communities adapt to the post-pandemic life.

Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado, earlier assured the public that most government projects will continue to be implemented as planned despite 13 special provisions of the Republic Act 11518, also known as the “General Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2021,” were vetoed.

He said that the DBM is coordinating with different government agencies to ensure the timely and quick release of their respective budget allotments. He also expressed the budget agency’s readiness to quickly act upon budget requests from agencies that will promptly submit their respective budget documents.

Avisado added that the budget agency will make sure that there will be an efficient use of public funds; adherence to laws, rules, and regulations; as well as shared fiscal responsibility in the implementation of the budget.

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