MANILA, Philippines — The government more than doubled its infrastructure spending in May to nearly P79 billion as construction activities resumed with the lifting of lockdown measures in Luzon, particularly in Metro Manila.

Based on latest data from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), the government increased its infrastructure expenditure in May to P78.9 billion compared to the same month last year.

“Infrastructure and other capital outlays surged to P78.9 billion, higher by P39.9 billion or more than twice the outturn last year,” the DBM said.

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) resumed construction works in areas that reverted to lockdown in April. During the month, President Duterte downgraded the quarantine status of Metro Manila and the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal.

According to the DBM, the bulk of the infrastructure spending was used to pay for the construction, repair and rehabilitation of access, bypass and diversion roads as well as bridges. Flood mitigators and drainage systems were also renovated in preparation for the typhoon season.

The DBM said payables were disbursed for the P8.9-billion new Senate building that the DPWH is putting up in an 18,320-square-meter property in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City.

“Similarly, payables in connection with the construction of the new Senate building project have contributed to the growth of infrastructure and other capital outlays,” the DBM said.

In all, government expenditures in May increased by more than 29 percent to P456.7 billion, from P353.6 billion during the same month last year.

Subsidies released to state-owned corporations also jumped by half to P44.7 billion, from P36.5 billion. The DBM traced the surge in subsidies to government firms to the P36.5 billion that was disbursed to PhilHealth to cover for the health premiums of senior citizens.

In May the government managed to cut the fiscal deficit to a little over P200 billion, as collecting agencies improved their tax take to push overall revenues by over 69 percent. Tax and non-tax returns rose to P256.4 billion, from P151.5 billion during the same month last year.

By Elijah Felice Rosales (The Philippine Star ) – July 7, 2021 – 12:00am