Press Release
September 6, 2012

Drilon seeks to restore DoH health facilities budget

In a bid to promote transparency in the budget, Senator Franklin M. Drilon has asked the Department of Budget and Management to return to the Department of Health the P13.56 billion allocation for the construction and repair of health center facilities that is now placed under a new special purpose fund in the proposed P2.006-trillion national expenditures program.

"I am not very comfortable with lump sum special funds. It is very difficult to monitor and it is against the principle of transparency. The committee prefers to avoid these lump sum allocations," stressed Drilon.

"The construction and maintenance of our rural health units and public hospitals which were left under a sorry state is crucial for us to be able to provide sufficient health care to all Filipinos, especially that we are running out of time to achieve the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (UN MDGs), particularly in improving maternal health and reducing child mortality rates," he said.

"It is imperative for the government to widen the access to healthcare services by building rural health units and puericulture centers throughout the country for these are frontline services our people in the countryside can avail of in case they have to seek medical attention," said Drilon, adding that some people living in the far-flung communities cannot even afford to go to provincial and public hospitals to get treatment.

At the hearing on the DOH's proposed 55.48 billion budget on Tuesday, Secretary Enrique Ona told Drilon that the allocation for the Health Facilities Enhancement Program (HFEP) was put under the Priority Social and Economic Projects Fund.

"The DBM told that there was an incomplete identification of all the health centers to be constructed, but that has been submitted already...since the budget was submitted, it remains under the Priority Social and Economic Projects Fund," explained Ona.

"If the condition for this health enhancement facilities program has been complied with, it is appropriate to move the budget back into the DOH budget rather than to place it in a special purpose fund," Drilon told Ona.

HFEP has a current allocation of P5.09 billion which is under the regular budget of the health department, noted Drilon.

"Maybe the DBM can already inform the House so that when they pass the General Appropriations bill, the adjustment may already be made," said Drilon.

"When I move this P13.5 billion without the authorization from the part of the DBM, it would be considered re-alignment and they will say it is my pork barrel unless covered by a DBM letter," emphasized Drilon.

DBM Chief Budget and Management Specialist Cleopatra Bernardino confirmed that the DOH has already complied with the requirements last month and added that the suggestion of Drilon can be part of the errata to be submitted by the DBM to Congress.

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