SUBSIDIES to government agencies surged in the seven months to July largely due to the wage subsidy program and increased support for the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (Philhealth), the Bureau of the Treasury said.
The national government’s budget support to government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs) totaled P187.465 billion during the period, up 188% from a year earlier.
The seven-month total accounts for 98% of the P191-billion allotted for subsidies to GOCCs this year. The overall budget was lowered after the government realigned funds to deal with the pandemic.
The Social Security System (SSS) was the largest recipient of subsidies during the period at P51 billion, or 27% of the total. It served as the main implementing agency of the wage subsidy program. It did not receive any subsidies from the government last year.
The wage subsidy program injected between P5,000 and P8,000 per worker per month into companies to allow them to pay their workers during the lockdown.
The National Food Authority (NFA) and Philhealth were the next top recipients with subsidies worth P37.65 billion and P30.3 billion, respectively, up 998% and 2,497% from a year earlier.
In July, subsidies totaled P17.935 billion, down 53% year on year and down 74% from June.
The National Housing Authority received 55% of the total or P9.892 billion, up 19.5% from a year earlier and 33% higher compared with June.
Philhealth received P4.128 billion, while the National Irrigation Administration got P1.911 billion. Philhealth did not receive any subsidies in July 2019.
The SSS did not receive subsidies in July, after the wage subsidy program ended in June.
The government subsidizes GOCCs to cover operational expenses not supported by their revenue. — Beatrice M. Laforga