Duque: DBM only approved P19.68B out of P73.99B DOH-proposed budget for 2022 COVID response

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III. Screengrab from Senate livestream

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) has originally proposed a P73.99 billion budget for COVID-19 response in 2022, but the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) only approved P19.68 billion, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said Thursday.

Duque bared the figures during a budget hearing at the House committee on appropriations when Marikina City Rep. Stella Quimbo asked him if the proposed P19.68 billion budget for the DOH’s COVID-19 response would be enough.

“The budget we proposed last June to the DBM was actually P73.99 billion and the breakdown of that would be for the actual hazard duty pay, the SRA (special risk allowance), the meals, accommodation and transportation and life insurance for P50.41 billion,” Duque said.

“Support to DOH hospitals would be P9.9 billion and the hiring of vaccinators in support of continuing efforts to provide coverage for our people is at P6.6 billion, and hiring of disease surveillance officers at P1.2 billion and oxygen need which is about P4.4 billion and others with the amount of P1.5 billion,” he added.

Quimbo said the P19.68 billion budget approved by the DBM may not be enough after Duque noted that the COVID-19 pandemic may last for one to two years based on projections of experts.

Meanwhile, Duque also admitted that the budget reduction was the reason why there are no funds allotted for the allowances of benefits of healthcare workers under the proposed DOH funds.

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