P66M in 2021 nat’l budget set aside for COVID vaccine trials — DBM
MANILA, Philippines — A total of P66 million from the proposed national budget for 2021 is allocated for the Philippines’ participation in the solidarity trials for COVID-19 vaccine.
Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado disclosed the amount during the first day of the national budget deliberations at the House of Representatives led by the committee on appropriations.
It was Iloilo 1st District Rep. Janette Garin who asked why there is a budget for solidarity trials, saying that vaccine development should be sponsored by highly developed countries.
“Hindi mayamang bansa ang Pilipinas. Bakit tayo gagastos doon? (Philippines is not a rich country. Why are we going to spend for that?] We can have our experts, our technical experts as our contribution, not monetary contribution because even if the vaccine will pass trials, we still have to pay for it commiserate to the commercial price it will dictate,” Garin said.
Avisado said that only P66 million is allocated for the trials, which is “part of the commitment to the global move to discover or test possible vaccines.”
The proposed P4.5 trillion national budget, Avisado earlier said, focuses on government spending on improving the country’s healthcare systems, ensuring food security, creating more jobs by investing on labor-intensive projects, enabling a digital government and economy, and helping communities cope.
For the healthcare sector, Avisado said that budgetary support will be provided for the National Health Insurance Program, medical assistance to indigent patients, human resources for health program, and health facilities enhancement program, among others.
“The 2021 NEP will also set aside funds for the procurement of the COVID-19 vaccine and the provision of PPE to DOH hospitals, laboratories and centers,” Avisado said during the submission of the budget to the lower chamber on August 25.
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