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Solons oppose use of MVUC funds for health care implementation

By: - Reporter / @DYGalvezINQ
/ 04:04 PM September 30, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — Several lawmakers on Monday opposed the proposal to use the additional funds from the Motor Vehicle Users’ Charge (MVUC) to fill the funding gap for the Universal Health Care (UHC) implementation.

Several measures was filed at the House of Representatives seeking to increase the rate of the MVUC. Albay 2nd District Rep. Joey Salceda’s bill seeks to earmark half of the additional revenues, which was projected to be at P8 billion, for the implementation of the UHC, and the other half for the PUV modernization program.

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His bill also seeks to exempt common motorcycles from the motor vehicle road users’ tax (MVRUT) and gradually increase rates for other vehicles.

READ: Bill exempts common motorcycles from road user’s tax, gradually hikes rates for other vehicles

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However, House Deputy Speaker for Finance Luis Raymond Villafuerte Jr., who is also an author of one of the bills filed at the House, proposed that the additional MVUC funds, should the rates be increased, be used for its intended purpose, which is for the maintenance of road, among others.

“I would like to emphasize that we already passed measures to fund the Universal Health Care. I think the UH should really go to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and Department of Transportation (DOTr),” Villafuerte said during the House ways and means committee on the MVUC.

He also opposed giving more funds to the Department of Health, especially to the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), especially when it is still rife with fraudulent controversies.

“I don’t think they (PhilHealth) deserve money at this point. Dapat magkaroon muna ng house cleaning bago sila manghingi ng additional funds lalo na ‘yung MVUC (They should first clean house before they ask for additional funds, especially from MVUC),” Villafuerte said.

Iloilo 3rd District Rep. Lorenz Defensor agreed with Villafuerte, saying that the additional funds be retained with the DOTr as the “continuous modernization of our transport sector is also tied to the health care bill, so far as emission, road safety is concerned.”

Meanwhile, for Marikina 2nd District Rep. Stella Quimbo, the problem of funds does not lie in the lack of it but in the proper allocation.

“Sobra sobra ang pera. Ang problema ngayon is not sa dami ng resources. Ang problema is the paggamit (The money is overflowing. The problem is not with the availability of resources but its utilization),” she said.

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Health Undersecretary Gerardo Bayugo said that for its first year of UHC implementation, it would need P257 billion. He noted that the DOH budget for 2020 was only P162 billion, which is P94 billion short for the UHC implementation. /je

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