Louise Maureen Simeon – The Philippine Star
October 7, 2023 | 12:00am
Workers continue construction duties despite the heat along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City on April 26, 2023.
STAR / Ernie Penaredondo
MANILA, Philippines — The Marcos administration jacked up its infrastructure spending in July by over 40 percent to P111 billion largely to fund road projects, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said.
Based on the latest national government disbursement performance report of the DBM, state infrastructure expenditure and other capital outlays jumped by 44 percent to P111 billion in July from P77 billion in the same period last year.
The DBM attributed this mainly to the larger capital expenditures of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) for its various infrastructure projects nationwide.
Significant disbursements were also noted for railway projects of the Department of Transportation and the funding requirements for the implementation of the computerization program of the Department of Education.
The state also spent for the construction, repair and rehabilitation of court buildings and offices under the Justice System Infrastructure Program of the judiciary.
For the seven-month period, infrastructure spending picked up by 12.9 percent to P618.2 billion from P547.5 billion.
The DBM said this is due to the progress billings and payments made for ongoing and completed infrastructure projects of the DPWH, as well as direct payments made by development partners for the foreign-assisted rail transport projects of the DOTr.
Meanwhile, overall government spending increased by 16.2 percent to P459.5 billion in July.
Apart from infrastructure, personnel services expenditures went up by 7.2 percent to P95.2 billion due to the implementation of the fourth tranche of salary standardization, as well as allowance payment to healthcare workers.
The government also recorded higher maintenance and other operating expenses to P74 billion due to the timing of release for the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program.
Other programs which also posted higher maintenance spending include those on agriculture, health, and education.
Interest payments also increased by 22 percent to P63.6 billion due to coupon payments for global bonds and extra issuances of fixed rate treasury bonds, as well as the impact of interest rates.
An increase in government spending was similarly noted in subsidy support to government corporations which went up to P33.2 billion.
On the other hand, combined allotment and capital transfers to local government units fell by 11.1 percent to P76.8 billion moderated by the releases to the Local Government Support Fund-Financial Assistance to LGUs and the Special Shares of LGUs in the Proceeds of Fire Code Fees.
Net lending also slid to P4.2 billion due to the timing of releases to the National Food Authority.
As of end-July, the remaining program balance amounted to P376.7 billion or 7.2 percent of the record P5.27 trillion 2023 budget.
According to the DBM, disbursements for the remainder of the year will further improve as seen in historical trends and agency spending behavior.
“Disbursement performance will be supported by the implementation of agency catch-up plans to help recover from the delays and other implementation bottlenecks they have experienced during the first semester,” DBM said.
The government has set a spending target equivalent to 21.3 percent of gross domestic product this year, while overall infrastructure disbursements will be equivalent to 5.3 percent of GDP.