DBM ready to augment funds vs. nCoV: Speaker

House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on Friday said he received assurance from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) that it would augment funds to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in the country.

"(DBM) Secretary (Wendel) Avisado assured me that when the nCoV funds are used up, he will augment them, Cayetano said, noting that the Budget chief gave the assurance in a meeting with House leaders this week.

Cayetano said the Department of Health (DOH) should use all available funds to contain nCoV and to isolate and treat infected persons.

He also urged the local government units to use their quick response funds and calamity funds to address the needs of the people.

That is also the advice I gave governors and mayors in areas affected by the calamity. Use your funds because we can augment them. The important thing is we provide our affected people with what they need, Cayetano said.

Albay Rep. Joey Salceda, who chairs the House committee on ways and means, has filed a bill appropriating the sum of PHP2.06 billion as a supplemental budget to address the risks of the 2019-nCoV to public health.

The proposed amount shall be used for the following: PHP2.025 billion for the personal protective equipment for health care workers; PHP4.522 million for the estimated costs for 40 repatriates from China; PHP10 million worth of surgical masks for health care workers and patients under investigation; and PHP20 million for the additional man-hour service such as sick leave, hazard pay, overtime pay.

The first nCoV death outside China was recorded in the country involving a 44-year-old Chinese national.

The Philippines has three confirmed cases of nCoV, the latest of which was a 60-year-old Chinese national from Wuhan City who arrived in Cebu City on January 20.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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