Lung Center, three QC specialty hospitals suffer P1-B budget cut amid pandemic

Published October 1, 2021, 1:00 PM

by Ben Rosario

Four specialty hospitals put up by government in Quezon City will suffer nearly P1 billion total cuts in their 2022 budget amid the continued onslaught of the COVID-19.

Hospital scene COVID-19

QC Second District Rep. Precious Hipolito Castelo lamented the government decision to slash the 2022 funding for the four hospitals which have been at the forefront of the fight against the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s ironic that we are in the middle of a pandemic and we are not giving our hospitals enough financial support. We are even cutting their budgets,” stated Castelo.

Pending a review of the 2022 General Appropriations Act approved by the Lower House on Thursday, the budget documents disclosed that the Lung Center of the Philippines, a COVID-19 referral hospital will be operating with less than P100 million in appropriations it received this year.

The LCP would have P405-million in 2022, Castelo disclosed.

But the biggest cut in its 2022 budget is the Philippine Children’s Medical Center (PCMC) that has experienced full capacity admission several times due to rising number of COVID-19 patients among children.

The PCMC’s budget allocation has been reduced next year by P823 million, leaving it with only P1,110,891,000 to fight COVID-19 and other children’s diseases nest year.

The National Kidney and Transplant Institute (NKTI) has also been a frontline hospital against COVID 19 and operating with a P1,271,442,000 budget in 2021.

The Department of Budget and Management has slashed its allocation by P9 million next year.

Castelo noted that financial subsidy for the Philippine Heart Center would go down by P29 million to P1,766,827,000.

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the PHC suffered the most number of casualties among its doctors, nurses and other medical staff, it was gathered.

Castelo has appealed for the restoration of the budget cuts for the four specialty hospitals, stressing that this is not the time for government to scrimp on allocations for public health facilities.

“We should increase funds for government hospitals at this time, instead of slashing them. If there is no room for more funding, at least we should maintain their appropriations at their 2021 levels,” she said.

At the same time, Castelo called on the Lung Center and the PCMC to hire more workers to fill vacant permanent positions.

She said budget documents show that the Lung Center has 767 vacancies, while the PCMC has 554 vacant positions.

The administration solon said the documents also show that NKTI’s 1,882 permanent jobs and the Heart Center’s 2,504 positions are all filled.