Salceda: Recast proposed nat’l budget, instead of supplemental funds for health response
MANILA, Philippines — For Albay Rep. Joey Salceda, it would be better to just recast or realign the 2022 national budget than have a separate supplemental budget to increase funding for the country’s health response against the coronavirus pandemic.
In her interpellation on the first day of the plenary debates on the 2022 national budget, Marikina City Rep. Stella Luz Quimbo pointed out that the P48.841 billion funding for pandemic response is not enough.
The lawmaker said the amount is merely 0.96 percent of the P5.01 trillion national budget for next year.
Quimbo said that under the previous two Bayanihan measures which spanned for one year and two months, the national government spent P536.4 billion in a bid to cushion the impact of the pandemic.
“Kitang-kita natin na yung P48 billion proposed para sa 2022 for health response is really a small amount, a drop in the bucket,” Quimbo, an economist, said.
(We can see that the proposed P48 billion for health response in 2022 is a really small amount, a drop in the bucket.)
Quimbo then raised whether the national government is looking at the possibility of a special supplemental budget to increase the funding for health response, similar to the Bayanihan measures.
Albay Rep. Joey Salceda, who sponsored the debates on the general principles and provisions of the 2022 budget, said amending and realigning the proposed national budget may be more feasible than having a separate supplemental budget.
“Sa tingin ko amendments (I think it should just be amendments)… I’d rather recast the budget. There are items immediately that could be shifted to augment the health response budget to COVID in 2022,” Salceda said.
“What I’m saying is it is the better approach because under the current rules… if you still have to go through a special supplemental budget, then you would have to go through an entire [process],” he added.
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