By Charissa Luci-Atienza
House leaders are counting on the Senate to pass the proposed P1.161 billion supplemental budget when Congress resumes session on July 23, 2018 to immediately extend medical assistance to some 900,000 dengvaxia-vaccinated children.
Citizens Battle Against Corruption (Cibac) party-list Rep. Sherwin Tugna, Deputy Speaker and Batangas Rep. Raneo Abu and Quezon City Rep. Winston “Winnie” Castelo expressed confidence that the Senate leadership will ensure the passage of the proposed supplemental budget.
“I believe this (supplemental budget) will be approved when we resume session next month. I know the Senate did their best,” Tugna, chairman of the House Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms, said.
“It is but right to extend assistance to Dengvaxia recipients who were most affected by the effects of the vaccine,” he said.
Abu, for his part, expressed no doubt that the Upper Chamber, led Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III will approve the supplemental budget during the first day of the resumption of session on July 23, 2018 before President Duterte delivers his third state of the nation address (SoNA).
“I trust the Senate leadership that it will prioritize the passage of the supplemental budget on the first day of our session because we we need to provide medical assistance to the patients now,” he said.
Castelo, chairman of the House Committee on Metro Manila Development, stressed that “the supplemental budget
is a very crucial aid to provide medical assistance to around 900,000 children vaccinated with Dengvaxia.”
Davao City Rep. Karlo Nograles, chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations, and one of the principal authors of the measure called on the Department of Health (DoH) to use its existing budget to assist dengvaxia victims.
“I’m calling on the DoH to use their 2018 budget to assist our Dengvaxia victims even as we anticipate the Senate’s approval of the supplemental budget when session resumes on July 23. We should not wait for another two months before the DoH takes action,” he said.
On late Tuesday night, the Lower Chamber approved on third and final reading the proposed P1.161 billion supplemental budget with an overwhelming 231 votes. But, Senate adjourned its session last week without approving the spending measure due to lack of quorum.
Under the proposed supplemental budget, P945.83 million will be allocated to Medical Assistance Program for admitted patients in hospitals and outpatients. Of this, P726.872 million will serve as assistance for admitted patients in hospitals and P218.955 million for outpatients.
The spending bill also provides that P148.296 million will be allotted for assessment and monitoring of the dengvaxia vaccinees, supplies and vaccines.
A total of P45 milliion will be allotted to the dengvaxia assistance cards and P25 million for supplies and medicines. While, P78.296 million will be earmarked for the salary of 1,250 nurses who will be deployed for three months.
Under the supplemental budget, P 67.586 million will be earmarked for the Human Resource for Health deployment for the follow up of vaccinees with complaints.
This funding will be spent for the salary of 382 nurses who will be deployed for five months in Regions 3, 4A and 7, and the National Capital Region (NCR).
The nurses are expected to provide counselling, lecture sessions, disease prevention and health promotion, monitoring and follow-up of dengvaxia vaccines. They are also expected to regularly submit reports.