P72-B 'stimulus fund' in 2011 disbursed, budget chief says
MANILA, Philippines - In an effort to ramp up spending to spur economic growth, the budget chief said they have released 96% of the over P72 billion stimulus funds before end-2011.
In a press statement on Monday, Jan. 9, 2012, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said the funds were released to agencies and government-owned and -controlled corporations.
Government underspending, which was largely due to governance checks that delayed the implementation of planned infrastructure projects, were blamed for the lackluster economic growth in 2011. In the first nine months of 2011, GDP growth was only at 3.6%, far below the 5% to 6% target and lower than the over 7% economic growth in 2010.
To address this, President Aquino approved the Disbursement Acceleration Plan (DAP) in October 12, 2011. The P72.11 billion funds under DAP were actually taken from savings from completed or discontinued projects and its release to agencies and GOCCs was fasttracked as 2011 drew to a close.
As of October alone, P53.8 billion or 77.5% of the DAP has been disbursed.
Another P15.48 billion was released in November and December. Of this, around P8 billion was released from Dec. 6 to 29.
“We released about P8 billion from December 6 to 29 alone to agencies and GOCCs to ramp up spending. The DAP contributed immensely to the government’s increased spending in the last months of the year, allowing agencies to quickly implement programs and projects aligned with the Aquino Social Contract to the Filipino People,” Abad said.
He added that, aside from the DAP, the release of an additional P13.4-billion was authorized by President Aquino to further boost government spending and "strengthen the national economy for fiscal year 2012."
The additional funds "will also provide for deficiencies under the Special Purpose Fund, including the Calamity Fund and Contingent Fund, and augment the much-reduced internal revenue allocations for local government units."
“The amount is targeted to provide new activities which have not been anticipated during the preparation of the budget, as well as to augment additional requirements for on-going priority projects," Abad said.
The DBM said that among the projects funded by the additional P13.4 billion include the P1.6-billion nationwide Disaster Risk, Exposure, Assessment and Mitigation (DREAM) program of the Department of Science and Technology; the P450-million Jalaur River Multipurpose Project of the Department of Agriculture; and as the additional P4.28-billion budget for state universities and colleges (SUCs) under the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).
Abad had earlier said that there is no need for another fiscal stimulus package for 2012 as the P72.11 billion DAP, the P13.4 billion additional release, and the 2012 budget, would be enough to spur growth.
The Aquino government expects the economy to expand between 5% and 6% in 2012. - Rappler.com