THE crippling COVID-19 pandemic has once more focused on the many health problems in the Philippines, an impoverished Southeast Asian nation of more than 100 million people.
Under the proposed 2021 General Appropriations Act (GAA), the national budget may reach P5 trillion as the country braces for the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
And with the mushrooming number of sick Filipinos still unable to seek the help of health professionals, there’s now a need for the government to give emphasis on the public health sector.
Due to grinding poverty, notably in far-flung communities, people prefer to consult quack doctors and faith healers, who are even willing to accept chicken as payment for their services.
In the proposed 2021 national budget, “we’ll be seeing much more emphasis on the public health sector,” said Senator Sonny Angara, chairman of the powerful Senate finance committee.
“I think you will be seeing less of items like vehicle purchases and agency travel…’Yung usual seminars, palagay ko mawawala na ‘yan kasi you can do everything online naman,” he said.
Angara said Congress may also review the budget of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, adding “we’ll also be looking at improving government (health) facilities nationwide.”
He said the 2021 GAA may also include a clause, which will authorize the President to realign budget as needed, which is similar to the provisions in the “Bayanihan to Heal as One Act.”
However, the boyish-looking Angara said “dapat may safeguards…it’s only for the duration of the emergency. Kung wala nang COVID-19, siguro hindi na kailangan ‘yang power na ‘yan.”
Thus, we urge the authorities, including members of the two-chamber Congress, to do something more effective regarding high prices of medicines and medical services in the country.
Lalo ngayong may COVID-19 pandemic.