PGH workers union hits P2.1-B cut in 2024 budget
Health-care workers of the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) have denounced the P2.07-billion cut in the proposed 2024 allocation for the state hospital, calling the move “unjust and unacceptable” as the hiring of additional workforce remained unfunded. Jonas Del Rosario, spokesperson for the PGH, however, explained the amount represents the capital expenditures given to the hospital in the 2023 budget that have yet to be liquidated.
The All UP Workers Union-Manila/PGH noted that the proposed budget for the PGH under the 2024 National Expenditure Program was slashed to P5.496 billion from this year’s P7.57 billion, or a reduction of more than P2 billion.
The union also slammed the “zero” allocation for the hiring of more personnel, salary hike and improvement of benefits, fearing that this would “lead to overworked and overburdened health personnel.”
“On the other hand, the patient census continues to increase and the scope or area of work of health workers [is] expanding,” the PGH union said in a statement on Friday night.
The hospital union also lamented the lower budget for the medical assistance for indigent patients (Maip) program at only P533.8 million for 2024, much lower than the P828.3 million allocated this year.
‘Budget slash is unjust’
Lawmakers should instead raise the allocation for Maip to P1 billion, the workers union added. Under Maip, a portion of the hospital expenses, including professional fees of physicians, as well as medicines needed by patients are covered by the hospital.
“The huge budget slash is unjust and unacceptable. It reflects the government’s willful neglect of providing free and quality health care to poor patients,” Karen Faurillo, the union president, said in a statement. For the group’s vice president, Benjamin Santos Jr., the government should rethink its funding priorities.
“This government should prioritize the health of the people and the welfare of the health-care workers more than the military, confidential and intelligence funds. How can we all be productive when the majority of our people are overworked and demoralized?” Santos said. ‘Still under liquidation’
Sought for clarification, Del Rosario told the Inquirer that he could not make a comment at the moment “since the PGH budget is still under deliberation.”The PGH official, however, clarified the budget was cut by P2.07 billion because the state hospital “is still in the process of procurement and liquidation of the previous P2 billion allocated for this purpose in the [previous] year.”
The PGH, which became the country’s main referral center for COVID-19, saw its allocations reduced during the pandemic.It was given P6.9 billion in 2021, the first enacted national budget following the pandemic. It was then allocated P6.3 billion for 2022, before the funding increased to P7.57 billion this year. The proposed allocation for the whole University of the Philippines System, where the PGH budget falls under, was also trimmed to P22.6 billion for 2024 compared to the P24.3 billion this year. INQ