Press Release
November 18, 2020

DOH's "microscopic 1% share in infra budget ignores COVID reality"

Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto said the "biggest factory defect" of the Palace-proposed 2021 national budget is "the microscopic 1 percent share of health" in the infrastructure and capital outlays pie.

"In the midst of the pandemic, when the deficiencies of hospitals and the health system have been exposed, how can this be overlooked by all the President's men?" Recto said.

Recto's interpellation of the general principles of the 2021 budget elicited the admission that the P11.4 billion earmarked for equipment and buildings of the DOH next year account for only 1 percent of the proposed P1.1 trillion capital outlays for the entire government.

"This is counter-intuitive. Bad science meets bad politics. Why put a crisis to waste? Countries are doubling spending for health. But ours, when it comes to new facilities for 2021, is flat," he said.

Recto said COVID-19 subjected the country's health system to a stress test. "Parang isinailalim sa MRI at ang resulta ay hindi maganda," he said.

This should have prompted the government to ramp up health spending, "not just to confront an ongoing health crisis, but also to lay the ground for a health system that is in a better position to respond to future pandemics and the medical needs of a growing population."

Recto said "conventional wisdom led us to expect a pandemic bump in the health budget for new equipment and buildings, but no such thing happened. Walang booster shot."

"Ilan ba ang dagdag na ICU beds? Ilan ba ang dagdag na ventilators? Mukhang wala," Recto said.

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