House to allocate funds for COVID-19 vaccine in 2021 budget – Cayetano
MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives will earmark funds for the purchase of the COVID-19 vaccine in the proposed P4.3 trillion national budget for 2021, House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano said Saturday.
“We know they are being cautious about the deficit, but funds should already be allocated for the COVID-19 vaccine. And we can label it as COVID-related programs so that if the vaccine is not yet available, they can use the money for testing or procurement of medical supplies. They won’t have to go back to Congress for additional appropriation,” Cayetano said in a statement.
According to Cayetano, such a plan would allow the government to have funds ready in case a vaccine for the coronavirus disease is already produced.
“What if there is a vaccine and they won’t supply unless you pay at once? So the funds should already be available in the budget,” he said.
Aside from funding the procurement of the COVID-19 vaccine, Cayetano said they will also include in next year’s budget the appropriation for the economic stimulus scheme that would help the recovery of sectors impacted by the pandemic.
The provision, he added, will be on top of allocations under the proposed Bayanihan to Recover as One Act, a legislation that will replace the Bayanihan to Heal As One Act that lapsed on June 25. The first Bayanihan law granted President Rodrigo Duterte special powers to address the COVID-19 pandemic.
Presently, Cayetano said, the House, Senate, and the Department of Finance are at “80 to 90 percent” in agreement on the final version of the second Bayanihan law.
“Bayanihan 2 law would allocate up to P200 billion for recovery programs and projects,” he pointed out.
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