The total subsidies granted to government-owned and/or controlled corporations (GOCCs) in 2017 jumped 27 percent from P103.2 billion in 2016, the latest Bureau of the Treasury data showed.
Last year, government financial institutions received P1 billion in subsidies; major non-financial government corporations, P60.3 billion; and other government corporations, P69.8 billion.
The top recipient of subsidy last year was the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth), which got P47.2 billion.
The latest statistics on its website showed that in 2016, PhilHealth had 41.2 million members with 52.2 million dependents, bringing the total number of beneficiaries to 93.4 million or 91 percent of the projected 2016 population.
In 2016, PhilHealth also cornered the largest amount of subsidy worth P43.8 billion.
Next year, PhilHealth will also receive the biggest chunk of about P57.1 billion in subsidy.
The GOCC mainly responsible for irrigation development and management, the National Irrigation Administration received the second largest subsidy in 2017, amounting P30.2 billion.
To recall, President Rodrigo Duterte during his campaign promised free irrigation for farmers.
As such, the NIA was allocated a higher P38.4 billion under the 2017 national budget not only to provide free irrigation but also to build new irrigation systems as well as rehabilitate and restore existing facilities.
An additional allocation of P2 billion was intended as irrigation fee subsidy in lieu of the collection of irrigation service fees.
The NIA had been collecting P1.8-2 billion in irrigation service fees yearly, according to reports.
The third biggest recipient of national government subsidy last year was the National Housing Authority, with P19.6 billion.
Up to 90 percent of the subsidy that state corporations receive were being spent on programs and projects, while the remainder covered operational expenses, according to the Governance Commission for GOCCs.
Last month, Budget Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno said subsidy contributions to GOCCs were among the expense items that “significantly” boosted the 11-percent growth in total government spending last year. /atm
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