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5-mo subsidies to GOCCs plunge 59.6% to P32.3 billion

FEWER subsidies were extended by the national government to state-run corporations in the first five months of the year compared to the same period last year.

Latest data from the Bureau of the Treasury showed subsidies received by government-owned and -controlled corporations (GOCCs) from January to May this year amounted to P32.3 billion, plunging by 59.6 percent year-on-year from P79.94 billion in 2021.

The national government provides subsidies to state-run firms to fund operations not covered by corporate revenues or to finance specific programs or projects.

Cornering almost half of the amount of the total government subsidies released during the period was the National Irrigation Administration (NIA), which got P15.26 billion.

Trailing NIA were the National Food Authority with P3.24 billion, National Housing Authority (P3.19 billion), Bases Conversion and Development Authority (P2.17 billion) and Small Business Corporation or SBC (P900 million).

Interestingly, the state-run Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), which has been the top recipient of government subsidies since 2014, has yet to get its share of subsidies from the government since the start of the year even though the country is still in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic. For this year, PhilHealth is set to receive its P79.99 billion subsidy under the P5.024-trillion 2022 national budget. Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, PhilHealth had the biggest share of subsidies last year with P80.98 billion or 43.8 percent of the total amount disbursed.

For the month of May alone, government subsidies to GOCCs settled at P7.905 billion, crashing by 82.3 percent from P44.69 billion in the same month last year.

Leading the list of top subsidy recipients for the month is still NIA with P6.26 billion, followed by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (P400 million), SBC (P200 million), Philippine Heart Center (P147 million), and Philippine Children’s Medical Center (P115 million).

Amid the Covid-19 pandemic last year, GOCC subsidies dropped to P184.77 billion, the lowest level since 2018’s P136.65 billion.

The Department of Finance earlier reported that cash dividends remitted by GOCCs since President Duterte took office in mid-2016 hit a record-high of P374.54 billion, the highest ever amount collected under any administration.

This was also more than double the amount collected under the administration of the late President Benigno Aquino III at P164.81 billion and is also more than six times the equivalent of the P60.82 billion dividend remittances under the Arroyo administration, the Department of Finance (DOF) said on Wednesday.

Under Republic Act 7656 or the Dividends Law, GOCCs are required to declare and remit at least 50 percent of their annual net earnings as cash, stock, or property dividends to the national government.

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