Legarda defends DOH’s P1B budget cut
Senator Loren Legarda defended the P1 billion cut for the Department of Health’s (DOH) budget for family planning commodities for 2016, saying it was done to augment the budget of other agencies such as the upgrading of air assets of the Department of National Defense (DND).
“The cut of P1 billion for the DOH’s family health and responsible parenting (FHRP) was a source for the increases in other agencies, including for DND air assets upgrading, which is timely and equally important given the West Philippine Sea issue, “ Legarda, chair of the Senate committee on finance, said in a statement.
“A portion of the P 1 billion was realigned within DOH to provide for the health facilities and medical assistance to indigent patients,” she said.
Legarda said the decision to cut the allocation for FHRP was done after assessing its possible impact on the program.
“We took note that as of June 2015 the DOH status of funds showed that of the P3.27 billion allocation, only P955 million has been obligated or 29%. For the remaining 6 months, 2.3 billion pesos or 71% has yet to be obligated,” she said.
“The unused 2015 budget is still available in 2016 and the agencies may augment deficient items from their savings,” the senator added.
Health Secretary Janette Garin and Senator Pia Cayetano, principal sponsor of the Reproductive Health (RH) Act, earlier expressed surprise over the budget cut.
“As the principal sponsor of the RH law, I am shocked that the RH budget was slashed by P1 billion,” Cayetano said in a separate statement Thursday.
“At every stage of the 2016 budget process, I had asked for details. This was work in progress and the detailed amendments were not readily available. Thus, we work on a basis of trust—that the chair of the finance committee would not make significant changes without informing the body, or in the case of RH, no major changes will be made without informing me, knowing that I sponsored the measure,” said Cayetano.
“As of this time, my office is looking into this because this is totally unacceptable,” she further said. RAM
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.