Budget and Management Secretary Wendel Avisado on Thursday assured the public that the PHP838-billion budget allocated for the fight against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) will be used properly.
“Maliwanag po ang instruction at direktiba ng Pangulo — siguraduhin na yung pera ay mapunta sa tamang pagkakagastusan (The President’s instruction and directive is clear — ensure that the funds will be used for the right expenses),” he said in an interview at the Laging Handa Public Briefing program aired over PTV-4.
These funds include those allocated under the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, Bayanihan to Recover as One Act and the 2021 national budget.
While the combined budget for Covid-19 programs is huge, funds given to programs of the Department of Health (DOH) under the 2021 national budget only amounts to PHP2.5 billion.
Avisado, however, stressed that this is not an issue because the fight against the pandemic and its impact is a shared responsibility among government agencies.
DOH’s Covid-19 program focuses on human resources for health and the acquisition of personal protective equipment (PPE) sets and other protective equipment, he said.
Relatively, Avisado explained that there is a PHP25-billion standby funds for vaccine procurement under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act, thus, there was no provision for this for the DOH budget anymore.
He said next year’s national expenditure program includes a PHP2.5-billion budget for Covid-19 vaccine acquisition and Congress augmented this through an additional allocation of PHP70 billion, although as an unprogrammed fund.
He said Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez has said that the unprogrammed fund can be accessed through bilateral, multilateral, domestic or foreign borrowings.
“So makakayanan talaga nating makalap yang pera or halaga na yan para ibili ng vaccine (So we can really source the funds to procure the vaccines,” he said, adding that the vaccine procurement program has a minimum timeframe of three years
Source: Philippines News agency