P23 B for health facilities escape veto
(The Philippine Star) – April 30, 2019 – 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines — Allocations totalling P23 billion made by senators for health facilities and hiring of medical personnel have been spared from President Duterte’s veto of over P95 billion worth of amendments made by lawmakers to the 2019 General Appropriations Act.
In a statement, Sen. Joseph Victor Ejercito – chairman of the Senate committee on health and a proponent of the amendment – thanked Duterte for approving the P16-billion budget for the Health Facilities Enhancement Program (HFEP) and the P7- billion Human Resource for Health Development (HRHD).
Duterte made the veto before approving the P3.7-trillion national budget two weeks ago.
Ejercito said Duterte did not reject the amendments to the budget for HFEP and HRHD “because, probably, he saw the wisdom behind this direction.”
The Department of Budget and Management cut the funding for the two items before the agency sent the proposed national budget to Congress.
“I was certain all along that the funds which I had proposed to be included in the budget for the improvement and expansion of health facilities, and also for the provision of medical equipment, wouldn’t be vetoed by the President,” Ejercito said in a statement.
He said the HFEP funds would be used to modernize and expand health facilities being operated by the Department of Health and local government units and provide them with the necessary equipment, especially those in far-flung areas where people rely only on community health centers or barangay health units.
Construction of 900 health facilities has been completed; 93 facilities are 90 percent complete; 235 others, 80 percent complete; and 88, now 70 percent complete.
The HRHD mandates the hiring of additional medical personnel, including over 13,000 nurses, for deployment to government hospitals and other health facilities.
“It’s like hitting two birds with one stone. First, the additional nurses will improve medical services in government-run hospitals and second, 13,578 jobless nurses will be given gainful employment,” he earlier said.
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