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New round of budget cuts in July as pandemic expenses mount

new round of budget cuts in july as pandemic expenses mount 816x445 - New round of budget cuts in July as pandemic expenses mount

THE Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has once more reduced the budgets of government agencies last month, with the agencies leading the infrastructure program giving up the most to the pandemic containment effort.

The Transportation department budget was reduced by P7.6 billion in July, bringing down its total to P82.912 billion, while that of the Department of Public Works and Highways was reduced once more by P3.2 billion to P454.555 billion. Budget reductions ordered for the two departments totaled P16.483 billion and P126 billion, respectively.

Some 20 national government agencies experienced budget cuts while two got higher allocations.

The Department of National Defense’s (DND) budget was cut by a further P2.44 billion, bringing the total reduction to P12.387 billion. The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) gave up P2.2 billion, bringing the total clawed back to P5.53 billion. The DND and DILG budgets are now at P179.357 billion and P234.317 billion, respectively.

The budgets of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Department of Science and Technology (DoST) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) were trimmed by P1.36 billion, P1.28 billion and P1.1 billion respectively, bringing their allocations to P22.02 billion, P19 billion and P15.8 billion.

The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Civil Service Commission, and the DBM received fresh budget cuts worth P332 million, P15.8 million and P5.1 million that month, respectively.

Other agencies whose budgets were further lowered last month were: the Department of Tourism (DoT), P792 million; Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), P367 million; Department of Justice (DoJ), P319 million; state universities and colleges, P310 million; the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), P246 million; the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), P196.26 million; the Office of Presidential Communications, P161 million; the Office of the Vice-President, P51 million; the Legislative Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC), P26 million; and other executive offices, P129 million.

Receiving additional budget allocations were the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Department of Education (DepEd).

The DBM did not outline how much was added to their budgets, but said the DA budget as of July was P48.43 billion compared with P48.42 billion in June. The DepEd’s budget was listed at P499.43 billion in July against P497.16 a month earlier.

The DBM has adjusted agency budgets four times this year. — Beatrice M. Laforga

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