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HOUSE PUSHES FOR STRONGER HEALTH CARE SYSTEM

The House Committee on Appropriations chaired by AKO BICOL party-list Representative Zaldy Co held a briefing on the P301-billion proposed budget of the Department of Health (DOH), together with its attached agencies and corporations, for the Fiscal Year 2023.

At the onset, Co recognized that the DOH would continue to play an indispensable role as the country works its way towards economic recovery.

“The health of our economy depends on the health of our people,” the legislator stressed.

Co enjoined his fellow lawmakers to support the DOH by ensuring the agency has enough appropriations to fund its priority projects and programs.

“The government must plan for the country’s health needs beyond the pandemic response.”

Senior Vice Chairperson and Marikina City 2nd District Representative Stella Quimbo stated that the government must plan for the country’s health needs beyond the pandemic response.

Quimbo added that improving the quality of health services in the Philippines would ensure a healthy and more productive workforce, thereby helping in the country’s economic growth.

“The welfare of health care workers must also be a prime concern of the government if it seeks to strengthen the health care system.”

For her part, Committee Vice Chairperson and former DOH Secretary, Iloilo 1st District Representative Janette Garin raised that the welfare of health care workers must also be a prime concern of the government if it seeks to strengthen the health care system.

In her presentation, DOH OIC Secretary Maria Rosario Vergeire cited that major cost drivers in the DOH budget proposal included:

1) operations of DOH hospitals,

2) Health Facilities Enhancement Program, and

3) medical assistance to indigent patients.

Vergeire noted that around 75 percent of the DOH and PhilHealth budgets are allotted for the Universal Health Care (UHC) Law, COVID-19-related efforts, and health systems resilience.

Meanwhile, lawmakers likewise expressed support for programs on mental health, diabetes, and dengue, among others.

Quimbo will stand as the lead sponsor of the DOH during budget deliberations at the plenary.

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