Senate restores P24.5B for health centers, staff

Franklin Drilon

THE Senate yesterday decided to bring back the deleted P24.5-billion outlay to the Department of Health meant to finance the construction of health centers all over the country and hiring of health workers.

In the budget deliberations, Minority Floor Leader Senator Franklin Drilon moved to restore the P24.5 billion DoH appropriation that was deleted in the proposed 2019 national budget.

The fund includes the P16.4 billion for the Health Facilities Enhancement Program (HFEP) and P7.1 billion for the hiring and salary of 26,000 health workers under the Human Resource for Health (HRH).

Senator JV Ejercito, the sponsor of the DoH budget, gladly accepted the recommendation of Drilon and thanked him for his initiative.

Ejercito said that the fund is a big help in the implementation of the Universal Health Care Program.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III who was present in the deliberations explained that now the fund has a great possibility to be back with the DoH, they will prioritize the completion of the construction of health facilities that are now 70 to 90 percent complete.

But Ejercito clarified that there will be no new health facilities that will be constructed this year although the government will maximize the use of private health facilities under the UHC.