Press Release
August 26, 2021

Bong Go vows support for covid recovery budget in 2022; reminds departments to act immediately, maximize funds, and ensure no irregularities

Senator and Chair of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography Christopher "Bong" Go has expressed his initial support for the proposed national budget for 2022, citing the necessity to bolster the country's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

He however reminded departments that for this proposed budget to be approved, they must ensure that every single peso is used in accordance with the law and within the prescribed period so that time and people's money are not put to waste.

"Pagdating naman sa paggasta ng pondo ng bayan, ang palaging attitude ni Pangulong Duterte, dapat walang matulog na pera. Kung ano kailangan gastusin, gastusin. Hindi dapat mabagal o matagalan ang serbisyo sa tao," he said.

"Pero hindi tayo papayag na mayroong anomalya. Even one peso should not be wasted or worse, stolen. Pera ng taumbayan yan, dapat sila ang makabenepisyo diyan," he added.

Go said that he supports the proposed allocation for the health sector, being at the forefront of the country's battle against COVID-19.

"Now, more than ever, we need to focus our spending on health," said Go.

"As Chair of the Committee on Health, I will carefully examine the proposed health budget to ensure that we have sufficient funds to improve our COVID-19 response and assist our recovery efforts," he said.

To maintain COVID-19 response efforts while supporting the gradual transition to complete recovery, the proposed Department of Health budget for 2022 is 16.5% higher than the agency's 2021 budget of PhP139 billion.

It will continue to subsidize the acquisition and distribution of vaccines to combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus, as well as booster shots, onced deemed necessary, for persons who have already finished their immunizations to strengthen their immune systems and lower the risk of experiencing the virus's unfavorable symptoms.

The funds will also be used to implement the Prevention, Detection, Isolation, Treatment, and Reintegration strategy, the emergency hiring of 6,810 COVID-19 Human Resources for Health, and the hiring and deployment of 26,035 health professionals to public and private hospitals in underserved areas.

Funds will also be allocated to ensure that DOH hospitals especially in Metro Manila, as well as DOH regional hospitals and other health institutions, can continue to operate. Budget has been set aside for the One Hospital Command Center to allow a thorough and coordinated response to the pandemic.

Funds are also apportioned for the Health Facilities Enhancement Program, which will be utilized for the construction, repair, and upgrading of health facilities, as well as the procurement of medical equipment and ambulances, in order to upgrade and extend the national medical infrastructure.

The government has also set aside funding for infectious disease prevention and control, and the National Health Insurance Program which subsidizes the health insurance premiums of indirect donors.

Meanwhile, the government will invest in medical research and development, among other things, to help prepare for and respond to future pandemics and other health emergencies.

"Suportado ko po ang proposed budget ng DOH dahil alam kong malaki ang maitutulong nito upang makabangon tayo mula sa pagsubok na dulot ng pandemya. Patuloy ko ring ipaglalaban ang pagkakaroon ng access ng lahat ng mga Pilipino sa quality healthcare services sa bansa na siyang pinaka-kailangan natin sa panahong ito," he said.

"Bukod sa pagsiguro na sapat ang ating mekanismo upang mapangalagaan ang kalusugan ng ating mga kababayan, parte rin po ng mandato ng gobyerno ang pagsiguro na wala ni isang iregularidad sa mga hakbang na ating ginagawa," he added.

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