Drilon seeks amended budget for DOH, says fund cut a form of ‘injustice’
Updated (5:21 p.m.)
Senator Franklin Drilon asked the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) on Monday to submit an amendment to the proposed budget of the health sector, calling the billions of pesos cut from the department’s budget a form of injustice.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque earlier said that the Department of Health’s (DOH) proposed budget for 2019, including that of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, was down to around P141 billion, or P30 billion lower than their original proposal of P171 billion.
Specifically, one of the programs that will suffer is the Health Human Resources Deployment. Duque said around 15,000 health workers nationwide might lose their jobs if the P8.4-billion cut in the program is implemented.
“This is a very serious concern. I have not seen in my 20 years in the Senate that a budget is slashed this much and the budget of the DOH,” he said in a statement.
“This is injustice and I will not allow the budget to be passed unless this injustice is addressed,” he added.
Asked where to source the funds, Drilon said: “We have the budget. Even if we don’t have, reduce some other items in the budget in order to provide the budget for the DOH.”
He said, however, that it should not be the Senate scrambling to search for funds to restore the budget, which can be vetoed by President Rodrigo Duterte.
Drilon also urged for the regularization of around 26,000 health workers in the country to ensure stability in the health sector.
Meanwhile, Senator Grace Poe also echoed Drilon’s pronouncement.
She noted the significance of the DOH’s program for health workers as it aims to deploy doctors, nurses, dentists, and other health professionals to local communities.
“We need not point out the negative effect of these budget cuts in this bill’s maiden year of implementation. /ee
House, DBM stick to their guns on issue of 2019 budget
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