DOH has P51.2B unobligated COVID-19 funds, says solon
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) has P51.2 billion unobligated funds from COVID-19 releases as of June, Marikina City Rep. Stella Quimbo pointed out on Thursday.
Citing a report of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), Quimbo said in a House budget hearing that the DOH has received a total allotment of P160 billion from Bayanihan 1, Post Bayanihan 1, Bayanihan 2, and the 2021 General Appropriations Act.
“This is a DBM report that would indicate COVID releases from March 2020 up to June 2021. And this would indicate a total released allotment of P160.9 billion, obligations of P109 billion, and a total disbursed of P59 billion, and therefore total unobligated as of June 30 amounting to P51.2 billion,” she said.
In his response, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said that the P51.2 billion will continue to be utilized for the rest of the year.
“The budget remaining at P51.2 billion as stated, I believe, will continue to be utilized for the remainder of the year. This is part of the 2021 budget as I understand it,” he explained.
Meanwhile, Rowena Lora, director of the DOH’s administration and financial management team, noted that they are “reconciling” the figures with the DBM since the unobligated funds under DOH records was only at P47 billion.
“We have to talk with DBM kung alin ang variance namin dalawa. Ang malaki dito talaga ay funding for the vaccines which is as of June, P40 billion po ang unobligated. But August po talaga, nagdatingan na rin po ‘yung mga vaccines so doon na rin po ‘yung bulk ng obligations,” said Lora.
(We have to talk with the DBM about our variance in the figures. The large amount of this is funding for the vaccines of which P40 billion is still unobligated as of June. But the bulk of vaccines started to arrive in August so the bulk of our obligations was during last month.)
The DOH is proposing a total of P242.22 billion budget for 2022 to beef up its response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Duque said the DOH originally proposed a P73.99 billion budget for COVID-19 response alone in 2022 but the DBM only approved P19.68 billion.
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