Covid response allocation below 1% of gov't budget for 2022
The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) on Friday said that it had not taken into consideration the surge in COVID-19 amid the threat of the more contagious Delta variant when it crafted the proposed P5.024 trillion national budget for 2022, according to a report by GMA News.
“When the budget for 2022 was crafted, COVID-19 cases were already going down and there was no Delta variant, among other reasons,” DBM officer-in-charge Undersecretary Tina Canda said in a text message.
Canda was asked to clarify the concern raised by Marikina City Rep. Stella Luz Quimbo that the Department of Health’s (DOH) P48 billion allotted for COVID-19 response is not even 1 percent of the total proposed budget, calling it “a drop in the bucket.”
DOH budget sponsor, Albay Representative Joey Salceda, likewise, admitted that the proposed budget was crafted at a time when the more transmissible Delta variant of the coronavirus was not yet detected in the country.
Despite the measly budget allotted for the DOH’s COVID-19 response, Canda said that the Health department is not the only agency responding to the pandemic.
“Funding for vaccine procurement has been fully provided in this year's budget,” she said.
“Isolation facilities are a DPWH (Department of Public Works and Highways) concern. Hospitals and improvements are in the HFEP (Health Facilities Enhancement Program),” the DBM OIC said.
Citing the GAB from the DBM, Quimbo noted that only P350.223 billion is allocated for COVID-19 response efforts for health and non-health.
This is equivalent to only 6.72% of the proposed P5.204-trillion budget for 2022, and is only 1.95% of the 2020 gross domestic product (GDP).
Out of the COVID response funds for 2022, the largest allocations were for the Departments of Transportation (DOTr) with P127.208 billion, Education (DepEd) with P99.196 billion, Health (DOH) with P48.441 billion, and Labor and Employment (DOLE) with P33.629 billion.
Nonetheless, Canda said, “The budget is now with the legislature so if they find deficiencies in how the executive crafted it, they can make the necessary amendments to the measure.”
“That is part of their ‘power of the purse’,” she said.
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