By Ben O. de Vera | Philippine Daily Inquirer
July 28, 2021
The gradual easing of quarantine restrictions while allowing construction activities under minimum health standards boosted first-half government spending on infrastructure to P426.6 billion, up 43.2 percent year-on-year. It also exceeded the six-month program.
The latest Department of Budget and Management (DBM) data showed end-June expenditures on infrastructure and other capital outlays climbed from P297.9 billion a year ago, surpassing the P419.6-billion target by 1.7 percent.
Also, second-quarter infrastructure spending rose by a faster 63.2 percent year-on-year to P231.4 billion, which was 3.1 percent bigger than the P224.4 billion intended for spending from April to June.
In June alone, infrastructure disbursements amounted to P94.4 billion, up 50.4 percent from P62.8 billion a year ago and 19.4-percent higher than the P78.9 billion disbursed last May.
In a report, the DBM attributed the jump in June infrastructure spending to “the road infrastructure program of the DPWH (Department of Public Works and Highways), payables of the DND (Department of National Defense) for projects under the revised AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) modernization program, computerization program of the Department of Education (DepEd) under the Bayanihan 2, and direct payments made by development partners for various foreign-assisted projects of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) such as the MRT-3 rehabilitation project and the Metro Manila Subway project phase 1.”
The first-half rise was attributed by the DBM to “the accelerated implementation of various infrastructure projects of the DPWH nationwide such as construction, repair and rehabilitation of access, by-pass, and diversion roads, bridges, and flood-mitigation structures and drainage systems.”
The above-target end-June infrastructure spending was due to “the settlement of accounts payable and faster implementation of infrastructure activities of the DPWH amid the looser community quarantine restrictions,” the DBM said.
It was unlike last year when the most stringent lockdown measures were imposed to contain the deadly coronavirus, the DBM noted.
As for the overall infrastructure program, which included subsidy and equity injected into state-run corporations as well as transfers to local governments, disbursements from January to June totaled P535.9 billion, up 40.3 percent from P381.9 billion a year ago. —Ben O. de Vera INQ