2022 national budget not ready for war vs. COVID-19 — Binay, Garin
MANILA, Philippines — The proposed 2022 national budget in 2022 is not “not ready for war against COVID-19” given the lack of allocation on key actions against the severe respiratory disease, two lawmakers said Wednesday.
Senator Nancy Binay noted that there is no allocation for contact tracing, which is vital in the COVID-19 response, and there is no funds allocated for health workers amid the pandemic and financial aid for individuals affected by lockdowns or quarantine restrictions.
“The 2022 budget is not ready for a war with COVID. Ang daming kulang. COVID-19 is here to stay and is not going away anytime soon so dapat noong kina-craft nila ‘yung budget natin, nandoon na ‘yun, naka-input na COVID-19 is there,” she said in a Kapihan sa Manila Bay forum.
Binay said there could be major changes in the proposed P5.024-trillion 2022 national budget, saying that this is the time that Congress should “exert its power of the purse.”
For her part, Iloilo 1st District Rep. Janette Garin said that aside from having no budget for contact tracing, there was also no funds for free COVID-19 testing, which she said, is also key in response against the disease since it is a “weapon for seeing our enemy.”
She said testing for COVID-19 should be free since it could help in determining people who should be in isolation and who should be contact-traced.
She noted that there are delays in testing now since many individuals are turned off by the high cost of testing.
“Karamihan doon [sa 2022 budget] is not responsive to what we need to do in 2022. We need to aggressively test and immediately isolate,” Garin said in the same forum.
“If we really want to contribute to the world, we lessen our infections by immediately contact tracing, testing and isolating,” she added.
The Department of Budget and Management earlier assured that the proposed budget for 2022 is aimed at sustaining the government’s efforts against the COVID-19 pandemic.
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