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Go pushes for DOH 2020 budget increase

November 20, 2019 - Wednesday 6:11 PM by MDM

Article Banner Image Senator Christopher Lawrence Go (middle) in a discussion with (from left) Senator Panfilo Lacson, Senate President Vicente Sotto III, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, and Senator Ronald dela Rosa. Contributed photo

Senator Christopher Lawrence Go on Tuesday defended and pushed for the budget increase of the Department of Health (DOH) during the Senate plenary deliberations on the agency’s 2020 budget.

“Ayaw po nating mawalan ng trabaho ang ating mga nurses, midwives at iba pang health workers,” Go said. “I will defend and push for the much needed increase in the health budget – especially for our health workers who care for the sick.”

Citing better access to quality healthcare services as a major concern for Filipinos, Go said it prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to identify healthcare as one of his priorities, as mentioned in his State of the Nation Address (SONA) this year.

“It goes without saying that access to quality healthcare remains one of the pressing concerns that our countrymen face today,” Go said. “It is for this reason that public health has been identified as one of the priorities by President Rodrigo Duterte during his 2019 State of the Nation Address.”

Breaking down the increase in the budget of the health department -- from P88.9 billion in the General Appropriations Bill to P96.3 billion in the Committee Report -- Go said the proposed substantial increase of P7.4 billion includes the allocation of additional P7 billion for the Human Resources for Health Deployment Program.

“This is to ensure the continued employment of our health workers whose services are badly needed in poor, underserved and far-flung areas,” said Go. 

Other increases stated by the DOH budget sponsor include the P350 million for DOH’s open defecation project, P6 million for public health management, and P80 million for the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), with the senator citing the agency’s “valuable role in public health, especially in surveillance and control of disease outbreaks.”

To support the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) in the initial implementation of the Universal Health Care (UHC) Act, Go added that the subsidy for the premiums of indirect contributors has also been augmented from P67.3 billion to P72.3 billion.

Meanwhile, given the proposed budget increase, the senator assured that he will be the first one to call out the agency should inefficiencies or irregularities surface in their spending.

“I would like to put it on record that although I am the sponsor of their budget, I will be the first to stand up and call out DOH if there are inefficiencies or irregularities in the spending of their budget. I will not hesitate to talk to the President, if needed,” Go said.

“Kahit ako ay nagde-defend ng budget, ako ang mauuna ninyong makakalaban kung may anomalya sa paggastos ng budget,” he added, emphasizing the President’s zero-tolerance policy against corruption. 

“Remember, zero-tolerance si Presidente Duterte sa korapsyon. Sa gumagawa ng corruption: ‘There is no tomorrow,’” Go stressed. MDM