The national government reduced the amount of subsidy to government owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs) amid the widening budget deficit, based on data from the Bureau of the Treasury.

Financial support extended to state-owned corporations amounted to P145.87 billion from January to September 2021, down by 8.1 percent compared with the P158.76 billion registered in the same period last year.

Among the GOCCs that received a huge portion of the subsidy include the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. or PhilHealth, P76.06 billon; National Irrigation Administration, P27.81 billion; and National Housing Authority, P14.8 billion.

Total support given to these three GOCCs as of September amounted to P118.66 billion, accounting for 81.3 percent of the government’s subsidy disbursements.

Other GOCCs that received some financial support from the government were the National Food Authority (P7 billion), Philippine Crop Insurance Corp. (P3.9 billion), Bases Conversion and Development Authority (P2 billion) and Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (P1.2 billion).

In addition, the Philippine Heart Center has P1.34 billion in subsidy, while the Philippine Children and Medical Center got P1.03 billion, and P1 billion for Small Business Corp.

In September alone, state subsidies to government companies reached P9.16 billion, higher by 28 percent compared with P7.15 billion in the same month last year.

The smaller subsidy to GOCCs comes as the Duterte administration’s budget shortfall widens.

Last Oct. 23, the Treasury bureau reported that the government’s budget deficit reached a record P1.14 trillion in the first three-quarters, an increase of 29 percent against the P879.2 billion funding gap in the same period last year.

But despite the uptick, the actual budget deficit the government incurred was lower than the programmed P1.42 trillion for the period and was equivalent to 61 percent of the revised P1.8 trillion full-year ceiling.

Based on the Treasury report, the lower-than-expected deficit was due to the government’s slower spending, settling at only P3.37 trillion, or 5.2 percent below the P3.56 trillion target.

Year-on-year, the end-September expenditures jumped 12 percent from P3.023 trillion.

Meanwhile, revenue collections improved 4.4 percent to P2.237 trillion at end-September from P2.143 trillion in year earlier. This amount was also above the P2.137 trillion target for the period.

Of the total revenues, the Bureau of Internal Revenue contributed P1.543 trillion, the Bureau of Customs at P469.8 billion, the Treasury bureau at P105.5 billion and other offices at P104.6 billion in the first nine-months of the year.

Both the BIR and the Customs bureau, the government’s two main tax agencies, exceeded their collection targets by 0.72 percent and 3.1 percent, respectively.

Source: Manila Bulletin (