Proposed 2021 nat’l budget ‘unresponsive’ to pandemic needs — Drilon
MANILA, Philippines — It appears that the proposed 2021 national budget was not tailored to address the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said Sunday.
Drilon criticized the absence of funds for the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD) Social Amelioration Program (SAP) and the reduced budget of the Department of Health (DOH).
“Alam mo, sa aking tingin yung ating 2021 proposed national budget ay ginawa na parang walang pandemic na hinaharap. Hindi ito tumutugon sa hinaharap nating pandemya. Hindi responsive,” Drilon said in an interview on dzBB.
(I think our 2021 proposed national budget was made as if we’re not facing a pandemic. It does not address the pandemic, it is not responsive.)
“Yung DOH, sa kasalukuyang budget ay aabot sa P180-B. Iyan ay bumaba sa P131-B. Kailangan natin ng budget sa health dahil ang problema ngayon ay pandemic. Kung walang tiwala ang taumbayan na may kakayahan ang pamahalaan na harapin ang pandemic, hindi babalik sa dating sigla ang ekonomiya,” he added.
(The DOH’s current budget is almost P180-B. That was decreased to P131-B. We need a budget for health because the problem right now is the pandemic. If the public has no trust that the government can address the pandemic, the economy will not bounce back.)
Drilon also questioned why the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Department of National Defense (DND) have higher budget allocations over DSWD and DOH.
“Hindi ko sinasabi na hindi kailangan ng pondo ng DILG at DND, ang sinasabi ko lang na only for the next year baka naman pwedeng bigyan ng priority dahilan sa iyan ang pangangailangan natin ngayon,” he said.
(I’m not saying that the DILG and DND do not need the funds. What I’m saying is that for next year, maybe we can give priority [to others] because that’s what we need right now.)
Drilon likewise reiterated that allocations must be realigned to fund the cash aid for poor families affected by the pandemic and to fund the health sector even more.
He said this may be realigned from the budget of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, the government’s confidential and intelligence funds or from the Department of Public Works and Highways’ (DPWH) “lump sum” appropriations.
“Iyan pa lang sa anti-insurgency fund aabot sa P19-B, pwedeng i-realign iyan. Yung confidential and intelligence fund sa buong pamahalaan na aabot sa P9-B, pwede nating tingnan,” he said.
(The anti-insurgency fund is around P19-B, we can realign that. The government’s confidential and intelligence fund which is almost P9-B, we can also look into that.)
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