DOH, DBM point fingers over payout delay in healthcare workers’ allowances
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) pointed fingers at each other on Wednesday over the difficulties in the disbursement of the allowances to be received by the country’s healthcare workers.
DOH Assistant Secretary Maylene Beltran said that the DBM only released the funds for the special risk allowance of healthcare workers on June 25, giving them only five days to disburse it since Bayanihan 2 was set to expire June 30.
“So ilang araw lang po ‘yun. May mga kailangan ho kaming i-settle na mga [memorandum of agreement], kailangan po naming kausapin ‘yung mga private sector. Kailangan po namin kausapin ang ibat-ibang LGU hospitals,” Beltran said before the Senate blue ribbon committee.
(We still have a few days to settle the memorandum of agreement. We need to consult the private sector and we need to talk to local hospitals.)
Asked if problems in disbursing the allowance could be attributed to the DBM, both Health Secretary Francisco Duque III and Beltran affirmatively responded.
“Yes sir. June 25 was a Friday we had to immediately talk to our partners [on] Saturday and Sunday po nationwide. Of course, we have to spend this kasi sabi nga po ng batas, obligated and disbursed by June 30,” Beltran said.
(Yes sir. June 25 was a Friday and we had to immediately talk to our partners on Saturday and Sunday po nationwide. Of course, we have to spend this because the law says so, obligated and disbursed by June 30.)
Senator Richard Gordon, who chairs the Senate committee, said such an event reeks of “inefficiency.”
“Di nabibigay ng DBM on time tapos pipilit kayo na tapusin niyo on a weekend pa. Gagastusin niyo at i-obligate niyo in five days na may weekend pa,” Gordon said.
(The DBM does not deliver on time, and then you will be forced to complete on a weekend. You will be spending and completing in five days.)
DBM disputes DOH
But according to DBM officer-in-charge Tina Rose Marie Canda, it took the DOH a while to sign the joint circular prescribing the amended guidelines for the continued grant of special risk allowance to health workers.
Canda said the DBM was able to sign the joint circular as early as June 3, but the DOH took until June 16 to sign it.
“Umabot po ng June 16 sa DOH ‘yung pirmahan yung joint circular. Pagkatapos po nun ang submission ng request is June 23 so hindi naman po kami mag-release without the request,” Canda said.
(The DOH only signed the joint circular on June 16. After that, the submission of the request is June 23. Without the request, we cannot release the funds.)
“Nililinaw ko lang ho yun kasi ‘yun ang kulang sa pagsasaad ng kwento ng taga-DOH [is] that they submitted the request on June 23. Being a holiday June 24, we released the document, but it was ante-dated to June 25,” she added.
(Just clarifying that because what is lacking in the DOH’s story is that they submitted the request on June 23. Being a holiday June 24, we released the document, but it was ante-dated to June 25.)
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