DOH to realign Botika ng Barangay allocation for COVID-19 vaccine procurement

Published September 2, 2021, 5:37 PM

by Noreen Jazul

The Department of Health (DoH) said it is planning to seek the realignment of its allocated budget for Botika ng Barangay for the procurement of vaccines.

DoH Secretary Francisco Duque III (top photo) and Rep. Janette Garin (HoR)

During the House Committee on Appropriations budget briefing on Thursday (Sept. 2), the agency was asked to provide a list of “least priority” projects or programs in which the budget can be “sacrificed” for the funding of vaccine procurement.

The DOH, in its 2022 national expenditure program (NEP), has a P45 billion allocation but was placed under unprogrammed funds.

Unprogrammed funds, according to Health Secretary Francisco Duque III can be funded “depending on the revenues raised by the national government.”

Duque assured the Lower House that the Department of Finance (DoF) has committed to funding the procurement of booster shots once there is a recommendation from the vaccine expert panel on its use.

Former health secretary and Iloilo First District Representative Janette Garin, however, said that the “commitment” is not “reliable” since it’s not included in the 2022 General Appropriations Bill (GAB).

“Why dont you scarifuce orher projexts that are not priority as of now. Eto medyo maliit lang Botika ng Barangay. Ilang taon na ito,” Garin told the DOH.

“Can you commit that you just do away for Botika ng Barangay? Gamiting muna sa bakuna? (Use it for vaccines)” Garin asked.

Duque, in response, said: “Yes. We will commit to propose this to Congress.”

Meanwhile, Marikina Second District Representative Stella Quimbo also asked the DOH to realign the budget of least priority projects to fund the special risk allowance (SRA) of healthcare workers (HCWs) which was not included in the agency’s 2022 national expenditure program (NEP).

Duque told the appropriations committee that the reason why there is no budget for the SRA for HCWs is that the initial proposed budget of the DOH was not approved by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

Under the DOH’s initial proposal, P51.2 billion was allocated for the funding of the hazard pay, SRA, meals, accommodation, and transportation allowance, and life insurance of HCWs.

Garin, for her part, suggested that the budget for SRA be sourced from the miscellaneous personal benfits funds.