THE national government is allocating a total of P66 million for solidarity trials for a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine in 2021.
Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado said this is part of the commitment of the Philippines in participating in the solidarity trials for a COVID-19 vaccine.
Avisado defended the solidarity trials on the first day of the budget deliberations at the House of Representatives.
For 2021, the proposed national budget is P4.5 trillion or 9 percent higher than this year’s allocation of P4.1 trillion.
But Deputy Minority Leader and Iloilo Rep. Janette Garin asked the significance of the allocation since the solidarity trials are sponsored by highly developed countries.
“Vaccine development should be sponsored by highly developed countries,” Garin told the House committee on appropriations chaired by ACT-CIS Rep. Eric Go Yap.
“Hindi mayamang bansa ang Pilipinas. Bakit tayo gagastos doon? We can have our experts, our technical experts as our contribution, not monetary contribution because even if the vaccine will pass trial, we still have to pay for it commiserate to the commercial price it will dictate,” she added.
In his response, Avisado said that only P66 million is allocated for the trials, which is part of the commitment to the global move to discover or test possible vaccines.
Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano said the focus of the 2021 national budget is the response to the pandemic brought about by the coronavirus disease and recovery programs to help boost the economy.
In its presentation, the DBM said for 2021 the national government will be focusing its spending more on healthcare system improvement; food security anytime; more jobs creation and investing in labor-intensive projects.
For the healthcare sector, Avisado said that budgetary support will be provided for the National health Insurance Program, medical assistance to indigent patients, human resources for health program, and health facilities enhancement program, among others.
The 2021 NEP will also set aside funds for the procurement of the COVOD-19 vaccine and the provision of PPE to DoH hospitals, laboratories and centers.