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DBM bars release of 35% of appropriations under 2020 budget to augment COVID-19 response funds

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said that 35% of programmed appropriations under the P4.1-trillion national budget for 2020 will no longer be released in an effort to augment budgetary support for the government’s COVID-19 response efforts.

“Government instrumentalities concerned are advised that 35% of programmed appropriations under the FY 2020 GAA (General Appropriations Act) shall no longer be made available for release effective April 1, 2020,” the DBM said in its National Budget Circular No. 50 issued on April 22, 2020.

This is meant to partially generate the required amounts to implement the national policy to address the COVID-19 situation, while observing the overall expenditure program for FY 2020.

The budget circular covers all departments, agencies and operating units of the national government, including state universities and colleges and government owned and controlled corporations receiving budgetary appropriations.

“This circular shall cover appropriations not expressly earmarked for the implementation of programs/activities/projects (P/A/Ps) addressing the COVID-19 pandemic,” the circular read.

The circular is meant for the following purposes:

  • To provide for the possible measures for the discontinuation of appropriated P/A/Ps, whether released or unreleased as well as unobligated allotments of covered entities as of March 31, 2020  to fund the operations and response measures related to the COVID-19 emergency situation
  • To identify the unreleased funds for P/A/Ps under the FY 2019 continuing appropriations and the FY 2020 GAA, which may be already be discontinued or may no longer be completed within the current fiscal year
  • To prescribe the submission of documents/reports to be used as bases on the discontinuance of said unobligated balances and identification of unreleased appropriations

The DBM, likewise, said that at least 10% of the total released allotments to covered entities for maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) and capital outlays (CO) shall no longer be available for obligation.

To effect the 10% discontinuance in the released amounts fro MOOE and CO, the following measures will be implemented:

  • Discontinuance of purchase of any type of motor vehicle, except for ambulances and those required by the military and uniformed personnel for the direct exercise of their public safety functions
  • Discontinuance of start-up construction of government buildings, as well as repairs/renovation works which may be deferred
  • Discontinuance of all foreign travels, except for ministerial meetings and scholarships/trainings that are grant-funded or undertaken at no cost to the government
  • Discontinuance of all local travels, unless urgently necessary and allowed by the secretary or head of the SUCs, constitutional offices, and GOCCs
  • Discontinuance of hiring of job orders, except those considered as frontlines during this state of public health emergency

Covered entities are also advised to continue at least 10% of the cost of the following:

  • Services of consultants and technical assistants
  • Consumption of fuel, water, and electricity and other utilities
  • Consumption of supplies and materials, except for essential and critical supplies and materials related to COVId-19
  • Cost of training, seminars and workshops
  • All other MOOE items not otherwise enumerated

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said that the government has enough funds although the budget to address the threat of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is starting to get limited

Dominguez earlier said the government is raising P1.49 trillion the funding requirement for the various measures to address the COVID-19 emergency. --KBK, GMA News