Proposed 2021 budget under review, may be submitted in July or August – DBM

Robie de Guzman   •   June 24, 2020   •   375

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) on Wednesday said it is now preparing the details of the proposed national budget for the year 2021.

During the Laging Handa public briefing, Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado said they are currently conducting a technical review on proposed budgets submitted by government agencies.

“Ang atin pong proposed budget for next year ay nasa P4.3 trillion. At tumaas ito ng bahagya dahil this year nasa 4.1 trillion pesos tayo. Umakyat ng kaunti lang,” Avisado said.

The Budget chief said the 2021 proposed budget will concentrate on the government’s efforts to battle the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as well as programs to assist sectors that were gravely hit by the economic fallout brought about by the pandemic.

Avisado revealed that the government has already spent some P355.67 billion for its COVID-19 response; around P247.21-billion of which was sourced from “pooled savings.”

The government is expecting to spend more money amid the pandemic.

Avisado said they are eyeing to conduct an executive budget review in July before submitting the proposal to the Office of the President on the day of President Rodrigo Duterte’s State of the Nation Address (SONA), which is scheduled every fourth Monday of July.

The proposed budget may be submitted to Congress by the second week of August. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

PH policy limiting advance payments to 15% may hamper COVID-19 vaccine procurement – DBM chief

Robie de Guzman   •   February 12, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Wendel Avisado on Friday raised the need to increase the 15-percent limitation on advance payments on the contract amount for the purchase of COVID-19 vaccines amid government preparations for the roll-out of its inoculation plans.

Avisado said raising the down payment limit will “ensure the timely and efficient implementation of the COVID-19 vaccination plan.”

Memorandum Order No. 172, s. 2005 only allows advance payment not exceeding 15% of the contract amount for procurement of goods required to address contingencies arising from natural or man-made calamities in areas where a “State of Calamity” has been declared by appropriate authorities.

Avisado said the government is presently experiencing difficulties in negotiating with various pharmaceutical companies due to the limitations imposed under existing laws.

“…Currently, pwede ka lang magbayad o mag advance payment hanggang 15%… Ang gusto ng mga pharmaceutical industries, bayaran mo na… I-aadvance mo na ang payment bago ma-ideliver… In other words, talagang tatalunin tayo ng mga mayayamang bansa,” Avisado said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Avisado called for greater patience and understanding from the public regarding the vaccine procurement process.

He stressed that the government cannot divulge specific details on its negotiations with pharmaceutical companies—such as prices and the manners of delivery—as both parties are bound by a confidentiality agreement.

However, he assured that all of the transactions made by the government remain legitimate and honest.

The government is also committed to ensure the safe and timely procurement, transportation, and administration of COVID-19 vaccines despite all of the limitations and challenges, he added.

“Bigyan natin ng pagkakataon naman ang ating pamahalaan na makalap muna at makakuha ng vaccine. Kasi hindi pa man nangyayari yan, ay katakot-takot na batikos ang naririnig natin, meron po mga pamamaraan dyan, kung saan makikita’t makikita natin kung meron talagang kalokohan,” Avisado said.

The DBM chief also reassured the public that the budget for the said vaccines has already been allocated and is now ready for release.

He likewise welcomed and acknowledged the efforts of various local government units across the country for complementing and cooperating with the national government in its efforts to secure the much-needed vaccines.

“Meron tayong pondo dyan…. P82.5B ang inilaan ng ating pamahalaan. Wag po tayong mag worry. Nakikipagtulungan ang mga local government units natin at sila din ay handa na bumili sa abot ng kanilang makakaya. We appreciate that very much po,” Avisado said.

Duterte to veto items in the proposed 2021 national budget

Aileen Cerrudo   •   December 25, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to veto several items in the proposed 2021 national budget, the Palace confirmed on Friday (December 25).

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. said the ceremonial signing for the P4.5 trillion national budget is scheduled for Monday (December 28). The Palace official, however, did not disclose which items in the national budget will be vetoed by the President.

“Sigurado po na magkakaroon po ng veto message. Pero I am not at liberty to discuss po kung ano itong mga items na ito (I am sure there will be a veto message, but I am not at liberty to discuss what theses items are),” he said.

The education sector will receive the bulk of the budget with P708.2 billion, followed by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) with P694.8 billion. Meanwhile the country’s health sector will receive P287.5 billion. AAC

Senators question funding plan for COVID-19 vaccines

Marje Pelayo   •   December 11, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto and Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon have expressed concerns over the funding for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination program amounting to P72.5 billion.

The said amount consists of P2.5 billion under the Department of Health (DOH) and P70 billion under the unprogrammed funds which will be sourced from non-tax revenues and foreign and local loans.

Recto fears that the government might not have a solid plan with regard to the appropriations needed for the vaccines and the logistical requirements as to how and where the funds will be sourced.

“So there is no plan. Whatever is in 2021 budget, kumbaga, hula-hula lang?” the skeptical Recto said.

“All of us are unclear how we will fund the P70 billion unprogrammed funds because, I’m sorry to say, what you enumerated as excess collection, given the pandemic – there is no excess in collection.”

Sen. Drilon, on the other hand, likened the P72.5-billion fund allocated for the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines to an unfunded check.

“It is like we issue a check without adequate funding. Sana po hindi mag-bounce,” Drilon said.

Drilon suggested realigning the P33 billion peso supposedly parked funds in the Philippine International Trading Corporation.

Angara, however, said that the Department of Finance has already assured him that they will secure funds for the purchase of the COVID-19 vaccine.

According to Angara, it will depend on the Executive department on what to do with the said funds. MNP (with reports from Harlene Delgado)

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