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Agencies with low budget utilization rates identified

As the Senate of the Philippines begins the plenary debates on House Bill No. 8980 or the FY 2024 General Appropriations Bill (GAB) on November 8, 2023, Committee on Finance Chairperson Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara highlighted that the national government, especially agencies with the lowest budget utilization rates, are currently taking concrete steps in improving their spending efficiency following the directive of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).  

Strengthening absorptive capacities 

Senator Angara reported that the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) will be implementing administrative interventions to improve its absorptive capacity and procurement process.

Meanwhile, the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) committed to strengthening its Migrant Workers Office; enhancing the full-cycle reintegration program for OFWs; and facilitating the immediate hiring of newly created positions for OFW hospitals. 

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) also committed to improving the implementation of its major social protection programs by fast-tracking the validation process for the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) and the social preparation process for the Supplementary Feeding Program (SFP), among others. 

The Department of Energy (DOE) will organize nationwide Information and Education Campaigns (IECs) on the Philippine Energy Plan (PEP) and conduct Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) on energy projects of national significance.

DBM takes measures to improve spending

The DBM, led by Secretary Amenah F. Pangandaman, will also complement the agencies’ efforts by strictly directing the conduct of Early Procurement Activities (EPA), providing capacity-building activities on procurement, encouraging agencies to utilize safe and efficient digital payments, and digitalizing Public Financial Management (PFM) processes through the implementation of the Budget and Treasury Management System (BTMS), among others.  

According to Senator Angara, the implementation of the BTMS which shall serve as a central database for all government financial transactions, will help strengthen and enhance the DBM’s quarterly monitoring mechanism by enabling real-time monitoring of transactions.

The Senate aims to approve the FY 2024 GAB on final reading by November 27,  to be followed by a bicameral conference meeting to reconcile the differing versions of both chambers of Congress. (DBM/PIA-Caraga)

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