Lacson alarmed by huge budget 'insertions' for health facilities program | Inquirer News
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Lacson alarmed by huge budget ‘insertions’ for health facilities program

By: - Reporter / @MAgerINQ
/ 05:55 PM November 18, 2021
Lacson alarmed by huge budget 'insertions' for health facilities program

Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson

MANILA, Philippines— The alleged huge “insertion” in the budget for the government’s health facilities program has caught the eye of Senator Panfilo Lacson as the Senate tackles the 2022 national budget.

“Meron na rin kaming nasilip dun sa HFEP na may mga isiningit dun. Katunayan naglalakihan e,” Lacson, who is gunning for the presidency in 2022, said in an online press briefing on Thursday.

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(We found out that there were insertions in the HFEP budget. In fact, these are huge insertions)

“Alam mo yung HFEP, yung Health Facilities Enhancement Program, kasama yan sa Universal Health Care Act. Hindi yan pwedeng paglaruan,” he added.

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(The Health Facilities Enhancement Program, or HFEP, is included in the Universal Health Care Act. It can’t be manipulated.)

While he did not say how much was inserted in the Department of Health’s HFEP, Lacson said hundreds of millions of pesos suddenly appeared in the budget proposal.

In the House of Representatives, the DOH proposed to raise the budget for HFEP from P7.7 billion this year to P19. 5 billion in 2022. This was raised to P20.782 billion by the Senate finance committee.

READ: DOH seeking P242.22 billion budget in 2022

“Hanggang ngayon, patuloy naming sinasaliksik kung saan nanggaling yung naglalakihan, by the hundreds of millions ang biglang sumulpot,” Lacson further said.

(Until now, we’re trying to find out where these huge insertions, by the hundreds of millions, came from.)

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When asked if he could say the 2022 national budget is “pork-free,” the presidential aspirant answered no.

Lacson quickly clarified though “pork barrel” per se is not bad.

“Ang problema kung hindi naikunsulta ito sa mga ahensya na mag i-implement,” he pointed out.

(The problem is when the implementing agency is not consulted)

He cited as an example the P5 billion fund transfer to farm-to-market roads supposedly without consulting the Department of Agriculture.

READ: Lacson questions P5B Bayanihan 2 funds used for farm-to-market road projects

The senator also lamented how the budget process has become “contractor-driven.”

“Sa halip na planuhin ng mga ahensya, ang nagbibigay ng ba-budgetan na proyekto, mga contractor na kasi kung ano yung gamay nila yun na lang . E yun ang napakasamang practice,” Lacson said.

(Contractors are the ones who provide the budgeted project instead of agencies since that’s just what they have.)

His running mate, Senate President Vicente “Tito’ Sotto, assured the public that he would not “sign anything that will be detrimental to the public.”

“Bring the money to the people without putting any in your pocket or other people’s pockets,” Sotto said in the same press briefing.

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TAGS: budget, DoH, Health, HFEP), Panfilo Lacson, Pork barrel, Vicente “Tito” Sotto III
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