The Philippines has so far released a total of P374.89 billion to finance efforts against the coronavirus disease, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) reported Wednesday.
In the Pre-SONA Forum, Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado reported a breakdown of the released amount, with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) having the lion's share.
"Of all recipient agencies, the DSWD received the largest share in the amount of P200.98 billion for their Social Amelioration Program, benefiting around 23 million low-income households in the country," he said.
The Social Amelioration Program provides households at least P5,000 up to P8,000 cash assistance monthly for two months, depending on the prevailing regional minimum wage.
The government has yet to complete the distribution of the second tranche of the program, as the DSWD earlier blamed logistical and security concerns for the delay.
Groups have urged the government to continue the Social Amelioration Program beyond two months, as inflation in May was faster for the poorest 30% households than the national average.
Aside from this, Avisado said P51 billion was released for the Small Business Wage Subsidy (SBWS) Program which aims to provide assistance to 3.4 million workers in the formal sector.
The Social Security System (SSS) earlier this month reported that only 91% of the target was achieved.
Other releases were made to the Department Health (DOH) with P48.23 billion, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) with P12.59 billion, and the Department of Agriculture (DA) with P11.10 billion.
Avisado said a total of P37.5 billion was also released as Bayanihan Grants to local government units (LGUs), of which P7.602 billion have already been liquidated by 386 government units.
"Bulk of the liquidated 54.24% went to food assistance and other relief goods for affected households, followed by a procurement of hospital equipment and supplies at 9.63%, and other COVID-19-related expenses at 8%," he said.
The Department of Education (DepEd) also received P10.91 billion for its Basic Education - Learning Continuity Plan (BE-LCP) Program, which aims to ensure educational continuity amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The remaining P2.58 billion was shared by the Departments of Science and Technology (DOST), Trade and Industry (DTI), Foreign Affairs (DFA), and Interior and Local Government (DILG), among others. —KG, GMA News