DBM recalls P20-B savings of agencies

By VG Cabuag, BusinessMirror

Posted at Sep 20 2012 07:25 AM | Updated as of Sep 20 2012 03:41 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said it is taking back the unspent funds of various agencies, starting with the savings of each government units that mainly came from fund allocation for employees.

Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said the national government took back some P20 billion from across agencies, but this came from the savings of the unfilled positions and the funding allocations from government employees whose retirements did not push through.

“We’ve started doing it [taking back the unspent funds], but these are real savings. We are already using the funds for some of the projects,” Abad said, but did not elaborate on where the government re-allocated the funds.

Abad said that the DBM will still push through with its plan to recall the funds from departments that failed to spend or obligate the budgets that were given them for the first half of the year.

He said that the agencies have until end of September to allocate the funds or these will be recalled by the government and given to projects that need funds.

The plan to recall the funds was scheduled to be implemented just after the first half of the year, or in July, but the agencies asked for an extension as the procurement process of the different projects had already started.

Abad said his threat has already worked its way to the departments as their heads have sped up the allocation process.

Last year the weak Philippine economy was blamed on the under-spending of most agencies, a situation that the DBM wanted to avoid during the Aquino administration.

The DBM has deployed account-management teams in nine key departments to monitor its disbursements.

These agencies were the Department Public Works and Highways, Department of Transportation and Communications, Department of Education, Department of Health, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Agriculture, Department of Agrarian Reform, Department of National Defense and Department of Interior and Local Government.

Abad said earlier that as of the first half of the year, the DBM saw some P90 billion in unspent funds, but most came from savings of different departments due to various project reviews.