Press Release
November 17, 2022

Opening Statement of Senator Risa Hontiveros during the Department of Health budget deliberation

Madam Chair,

A short manifestation before I proceed with my questions about the budget of the health department and agencies.

First of all, I want to thank the Senate, the committee, and the Chair, for their continuous commitment to ensuring funding for the health sector.

I noticed that throughout the pandemic so far, the health agencies--the DOH, its attached agencies, and corporations--received increases in their budget: from P173B in 2019 to P274B in 2022, and for next year, from the proposed P301B to P323B.

We should keep it this way to realize our collective aspiration for universal healthcare. And I hope that the health agencies will spend these monies well.

I would also like to thank the DOH family led by OIC Secretary Maria Rosario Vergeire for holding the fort and continuously guiding us as we navigate our way out of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Also, I commend them for their proactive work in formulating the health sector strategy for 2023-2028, reflecting the lessons learned from our COVID-19 health responses to ensure healthier Filipinos.

Madam Chair, mukhang even in the absence or before the appointment of a Secretary, nakakakuha tayo ng garantiya at kumpiyansa na may sinusunod na blueprint and roadmap ang ating mga health agencies tungo sa healthy 'Pinas at healthy buhay ng bawat isang Pilipino.

I joined the DOH in their call to all government agencies and instrumentalities with health or health-related funding to align their policies, programs, plans, and funds to the Health Sector Strategy for 2023-2028.

And with that health sector strategy for 2023-2028 in place, at the very least, we can be guaranteed that there is a roadmap toward healthier Filipinos to guide us in ensuring an outcome-based expenditure program for our health.

Alam natin saan mag-aambag ang bawat pisong ilalaan natin hindi katulad ng P9.28B na confidential at intelligence funds ng ilang ahensya ng gobyerno.

As an aside, sa pagpasok ng 19th Congress, Madam Chair, Mr. President, it is interesting to note na wala o hindi pa tayo nakakadinig na sinasagawa kung saan sangkot ang DOH, PHILHEALTH at ibang ahensya nito sa anumang maanomalyang transaksyon hindi tulad sa nagdaang mga taon.

At this point, Madam Chair, I will be asking several sets of questions about our health agency. Ngayon pa lamang ay humihingi na ako pasensya sa ating mga kasamahan, and ask for your indulgence, dahil sadyang naipon lang ang aking mga katanungan.

News Latest News Feed