Minority wants to scrutinize DOH’s supplemental budget for 2019-nCoV | Inquirer News

Minority wants to scrutinize DOH’s supplemental budget for 2019-nCoV

/ 05:38 PM February 05, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Minority lawmakers want to see the details of the proposed supplemental budget for the Department of Health (DOH) to ensure that it will be used to address the 2019 Novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) threat.

“We want a detailed list and plan on how the DOH intends to use the P1 billion fund to make sure it will indeed be used to address the needs to contain this virus,” Minority Floor Leader and Manila 5th District Rep. Bienvenido Abante Jr. said in a press briefing on Wednesday.

According to Abante, who was with other members of the minority, they were wary of the additional funds that DOH was seeking as the request was made through media and not through a formal letter.  The request was originally set at P1 billion and eventually increased to P2 billion on Wednesday.


There are two bills filed for DOH’s supplemental budget: one was filed by House health committee chair and Quezon Rep. Angelina Tan, and another by ways and means committee chair and Albay 2nd District Rep. Joey Salceda.


“In our discussion, it has been made very clear to us that we need to take this public health threat seriously.  However, we are wary over the DOH’s request to approve P1 billion supplementary funds,” Abanted noted.

“First of all, Secretary Duque directed the request in a media conference instead of formally requesting the funds from Congress who has the power of the purse,” he added.

READ: P1-B supplemental budget for nCoV response sought

READ: Solons file bills seeking supplemental funds for nCoV response

The supplemental budget is seen to boost the DOH’s efforts against to contain 2019-nCoV, which has spread from Wuhan in China to various parts of the world including the Philippines.  Earlier, DOH confirmed the third case of the 2019-nCoV.

As of now, there are over 20,000 persons infected with coronavirus strain, with at least 425 dead — including a Chinese national in the Philippines, which was the first recorded 2019-nCoV death outside mainland China.


Salceda said in a press conference earlier that the addition to the original proposed supplemental budget was borne out of concern towards health workers, especially the epidemiologists who are at the forefront of risks brought by the virus.

READ: China virus death toll rises to 425, total cases now 20,438

READ: BREAKING: 60-year-old Chinese woman is PH’s 3rd 2019-nCoV case – DOH

Abante clarified that they do not want to point fingers, but stressed that scrutinizing the additional funds would translate into the efficient delivery of service.

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“We see the need to come together to address this outbreak.  I personally believe this is not the time to point fingers but we ask the DOH and the concerned agencies at the forefront of the efforts to contain this disease and get their acts together and focus on the problem,” he noted.

TAGS: 2019-nCoV, China, DoH, House of Representatives, Philippine news updates, Wuhan

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