Lawmakers moved to restore the slashed budget of Department of Health (DOH), including those allocated for Human Resource for Health Deployment Program during the continuing interpellation at the Senate.
Noting the P28 billion budget cut suffered by the health department in the 2019 National Expenditure Program (NEP) submitted by the Department of Budget and Management, Senator Franklin Drilon said that they could tap the controversial additional funding that was allegedly inserted into the budget of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) be realigned to restore the slashed budget of the DOH.
“The amount could be sourced from the P75 billion in additional funding that went to the DPWH or the P27.7 billion supposedly for assisting local government units that went to DILG,” Drilon said.
Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito, who sponsored the budget of the health department, fully agreed with Drilon and vowed to restore at least P24.2 billion out of the P28 billion that had been cut from the DOH’s 2019 spending outlay.
Of that amount, P7.4 billion will go to HRH program, in addition to P7.8 billion allocated by the DBM. The rest of P16.8 billion will fund the equipment and accreditation of various health facilities under the Health Facilities Enhancement Program (HFEP).
According to DOH, they will deploy 243 doctors, 9,138 nurses, 3,650 midwives, and 241 dentists in far-flung areas, particularly in municipalities that do not have any health worker, under the 2019 HRH Deployment Program.
“They will be out of jobs of this program is not funded,” Ejercito said. “The HRH has been very, very effective in addressing the lack of manpower of the agency.”
The 2019 national budget, which includes these amendments in DOH allocation, is expected to be approved in Congress by end of January and will be up for President’s signature first week of February.
Watch the full Senate deliberation of 2019 DOH budget below: