Go vows support for COVID-19 recovery budget in 2022

Published August 26, 2021, 3:21 PM

by Mario Casayuran

Senator Christopher “Bong” Go has expressed his initial support for the proposed 2022 P5 trillion national budget, citing the necessity to bolster the country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Go, chairman of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, 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.

He 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,” Go said.

‘’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 added.

To maintain COVID-19 response efforts while supporting the gradual transition to complete recovery, the proposed Department of Health (DOH) budget for 2022 is 16.5 percent higher than the agency’s 2021 budget of P139 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, once 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 (HFEP), 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 (NHIP) 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.