THE Department of Budget and Management (DBM) on Wednesday is ready to defend the P588.1-billion standby funds under the proposed P5.268-trillion national expenditure program (NEP) for 2023.

In a statement, Budget Secretary Amenah Pangandaman underscored DBM's stand of having "no irregularities" in allocating unprogrammed funds for next year.

Pangandaman said the agency is ready to defend the proposed budget with the start of the marathon of budget deliberations.

"It is a form of standby appropriations, meaning if at any given point when excess revenues are not generated, and an item of appropriations is found to be deficient or even nonexistent, then unprogrammed appropriation (UA) will be triggered," explained the Budget chief.

She added that DBM did not have the UAs in certain instances in the past.

Get the latest news
delivered to your inbox
Sign up for The Manila Times’ daily newsletters
By signing up with an email address, I acknowledge that I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

"This is due to the logic that when [the] budget is effectively increasing, there should not be an unprogrammed appropriation," Pangandaman said.

She also underscored that the 2023 UA, as a percentage of the proposed national budget, is only 4 percent and not 11.2 percent.

In addition, the DBM chief provided the media with the details of the 2023 UA submitted to Congress.

The UA started more than four decades ago and was accepted by subsequent administrations.

The UA list included funding for social programs and infrastructure projects (including P22 billion for procurement of vaccines) worth P149.6 billion and the Armed Forces of the Philippines' Modernization Program worth P5 billion.

Additionally, there were P20.6 billion in standby funds for government-owned businesses, P380 billion in support for foreign-assisted projects, P1 billion for risk management programs and P2 billion to cover Land Transportation Office IT (information technology) service arrears.

The repayment of the P210.5-million service development fee paid for the right to develop the Nanpeidai property in Tokyo, Japan, as well as the P10-billion equity injection by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, are also included in the UA.

UA for public health emergency benefits, allowances for health care and non-health care workers, and the prior years' local government unit shares total P18.9 billion and P14 million, respectively.

Pangandaman underscored that the UA would only be implemented if government revenue collections surpass predetermined levels or new loans for foreign projects are obtained.