The SARO or the Special Allotment Release Order is a document issued by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM). It triggers the release of funds for lump-sum items such as the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork.
The release of amounts from the PDAF and other lump-sum funds is classified as “needing clearance” by the DBM, and thus requires approval by the Budget department or the President. Before they can draw amounts from such funds, agencies need to submit a Special Budget Request and supporting documents to the DBM.
The DBM issues a SARO to the implementing agency once the request is approved. The SARO gives the agency the authority to conduct bids or award contracts for goods and services.
In contrast, agency budgets or programmed appropriations, which are itemized in the General Appropriations Act, do not require a SARO. The DBM releases these amounts to all the agencies through their respective Agency Budget Matrix (ABM), a comprehensive allotment release document for appropriations, which do not need clearance anymore.
Below is a sample SARO for the release of a P7-million subsidy to local government units that had been charged against the PDAF of Vice President Jejomar C. Binay. The document with SARO No. SARO-BMB-G-11-T000001486 was issued to the DBM Region IV-A office on June 21, 2011 to allow the release of P7 million as “financial assistance for the construction/rehabilitation of Senior Citizens’ Charter” in 14 various towns in the provinces of Batangas, Cavite, Laguna, Quezon, Rizal, and Laguna.
Department of Budget and Management. Budget 101: Budget Execution. 2012.
Department of Budget and Management, SARO-BMB-G-11-T000001486, 2012.