At least P72-B allocated for COVID-19 vaccine under final version of 2021 budget–Angara
MANILA, Philippines — The Senate and the House have agreed to set aside at least P72 billion specifically for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine under the proposed budget for 2021, Senator Sonny Angara said Wednesday.
After the bicameral conference committee adopted and approved the final version of the proposed national budget for 2021, Angara said there are also P10 billion funds available for vaccine procurement under the Bayanihan To Recover As One Act or Bayanihan 2.
“If that amount is fully used, fully utilized in 2021, a big portion of our population can get vaccinated,” Angara said.
While the majority of the funds—or around P70 billion—are placed under unprogrammed appropriations, Angara said “the probability of being funded is large.”
“The target for unprogrammed is lower this year… Ang akala kasi ng iba, pag unprogrammed, hindi siya mapopondohan. That is not true. The probability of being funded is large,” Angara said.
(The target for unprogrammed is lower this year… Many think that since it is unprogrammed, it cannot be funded. That is not true. The probability of being funded is large.)
“We are assured by the Department of Finance na mapopondohan talaga ‘yun… If we are talking about availability of cash, that’s not for the legislative, that’s for the executive branch to answer,” the senator added.
Angara aid the Senate is looking at extending Bayanihan 2 until March or June next year.
“Kapag hindi in-extend ‘yung Bayanihan 2, sayang din ‘yun. Magre-revert din ‘yung pera,” Angara said.
(If we do not extend Bayanihan 2, that’s unfortunate. The funds will be reverted.)
Meanwhile, the education and the infrastructure sectors get the biggest chunk in the bicam’s version of the 2021 budget.
According to data given by Angara’s office, here are the top 10 sectors and government agencies with the highest allocation in the 2021 budget:
- Education (Department of Education, State Universities and Colleges, Commission on Higher Education, TESDA) – P708,181 billion
- Department of Public Works and Highways – P694.822 billion
- Department of Interior and Local Government – P247.506 billion
- Department of National Defense – P205.471 billion
- Department of Social Welfare and Development – P176.659 billion
- Department of Health – P134.941 billion
- Department of Transportation – P87.445 billion
- Department of Agriculture – P68.622 billion
- Judiciary – P44.108 billion
- Department of Labor and Employment – P36.606 billion
Angara’s office clarified that funding for COVID-related measures were spread out over various government agencies, and not just the DOH, which explains why the health department only placed sixth in the ranking.
Now that the bicam has approved the national budget, the Senate and the House are now expected to ratify it this Wednesday afternoon so it can be submitted to the office of President Rodrigo Duterte for signature.
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