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PASS RESPONSIVE HEALTHCARE 2022 BUDGET – FRASCO

A Cebuano lawmaker has pushed for the passage of a national budget for next year that will tackle the country’s healthcare response amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

Cebu 5th District Representative Duke Frasco said the “paramount objective is to pass the most responsive and comprehensive budget” to answer the medical needs of the Filipinos.

“The 2022 national budget should allow our countrymen the full measure of enjoyment of the right to life and the right to good health.”

Frasco said the 2022 national budget should “allow our countrymen the full measure of enjoyment of the right to life and the right to good health, while affording them the security, stability, and protection of a highly functional healthcare system”.

“By placing the people’s needs and well-being, front and center of the government’s health expenditure, we also afford them the best chance to recover from the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, and to move forward with good health and hope,” the legislator said.

In preparation for the passage of the General Appropriations Act of 2022, the lawmaker presided over the House of Representatives budget hearing which placed the Department of Health’s (DOH) budget under close scrutiny recently.

He made such remarks recognizing the primordial importance of quality healthcare as the country continues to reel from the rising number of COVID-19 cases.

Frasco, who sits as vice chairperson of the House Committee on Appropriations, set the tone for the budget hearing by expressing profound gratitude to the medical frontliners “who have served our people tirelessly and have bravely been at the frontlines of our continuing fight against the COVID-19 pandemic”.

For 2022, the DOH has a proposed budget of P242.22 billion, of which P157.03 billion would go to the Secretary’s office.

He said the hearing lasted over nine hours and was attended by Health Secretary Francisco Duque III and other DOH officials as well as members of Congress.

He said Duque presented the health department’s budget request to cover the healthcare workers’ special risk allowance (SRA), hazard pay, and allowances for meals, accommodations, and transportation (MAT) in the coming year, which the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) excluded from the agency’s proposed budget.

For 2022, the DOH has a proposed budget of P242.22 billion, of which P157.03 billion would go to the Secretary’s office.

The DOH budget includes funding for other attached agencies like the Philippine Health Insurance Corp (PhilHealth), which would get P79.99 billion, or 33 percent of the total budget.

“The proposed P78.83 billion was earmarked for programs under the Universal Health Care Law, which included COVID-19 initiatives such as providing for 3.8 million COVID-19 tests and laboratory network needs,” Frasco concluded.

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