Philippines: Infrastructure spending steady at P61 billion in October

MANILA, Philippines — The government steadied its infrastructure spending in October as outlays inched up by less than a percent to P61 billion, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said.

Based on the DBM’s latest national government disbursement performance report, state infrastructure expenditure and other capital outlays went up by a mere 0.5 percent to P61.2 billion in October from P60.9 billion in the same period in 2021.

The DBM said increases were recorded in the Department of Public Works and Highways and Department of Transportation for their road and transport infrastructure projects.

However, these were partly offset by the lower capital outlay disbursements for the Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Program of the Department of National Defense.

There were also minimal direct payments made by donor partners for foreign-assisted projects.

For the 10-month period last year, however, infrastructure spending rose by 12.3 percent to P788.9 billion from P702.4 billion in January to October 2021.

On the other hand, overall government spending for October reached P387 billion, up by 22.2 percent on a yearly basis. This brought the 10-month expenses to P4.06 trillion, nearly 10 percent higher from year ago figures.

Broken down, combined allotment and capital transfers to local government units rose by 33 percent to P86.5 billion on higher tax allotments due to the Mandanas Ruling.

The government also recorded higher maintenance and other operating expenses to P72.5 billion due to payouts for the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, healthcare workers allowances, and student financial assistance programs.

An increase in government spending was likewise noted in subsidy support to government corporations, which went up to P40 billion due to releases to the Philippine Health Insurance Corp., as well as for irrigation services, housing programs, electrification, and rice buffer stocking.

Interest payments also increased by 5.2 percent to P33.2 billion due to coupon payments for 2022 issuances and global bonds.

Meanwhile, personnel services expenditures slightly went down by 1.1 percent to P86.8 billion sans the deficiency releases to the Philippine Coast Guard for its requirements for filling up positions and promotion.

Tax expenditures also slipped by nearly 50 percent to P1.3 billion due to lower recorded documentary stamp taxes on government securities.

As of end-October, the remaining balance of this year’s adjusted P5.269 trillion obligation program amounts to P184.3 billion or 3.5 percent. This is composed mainly of some P67.8 billion special purpose funds and P63.5 billion agency specific budget items.

The DBM said spending performance is expected to have continued for the remaining part of 2022 as line agencies catch up on the implementation of their programs and settle outstanding due and demandable obligations before the year ended.