Angara: Senate to focus on health response amid tight fund availability

Published October 5, 2021, 2:04 PM

by Mario Casayuran

With the current tight fund availability to finance the proposed 2022 P5 trillion national budget, the Senate will focus on the health response of the country to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Senator Juan Edgardo ‘’Sonny’’ M. Angara, chairman of the Senate finance committee, said his colleagues noted the tight cash flow of the national government during a briefing by the Development Budget Coordination Council (DBCC) when the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) submitted the budget.

The proposed 2022 national budget, according to Angara, had no appropriations for contact tracing, no funds for testing outside of booster shots, not funds for testing of 12-17 year olds, no funds for contract tracing, no funds for Special Risk Allowance (SRA) for healthcare workers who take care of COVID-19 patients, Angara noted.

‘’With the understanding of the department (Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and other agencies, those will be our utmost priority going into 2022, the health response of our country,’’ he added.

Angara issued this statement at the close of his committee hybrid hearing on the proposed 2022 P190.3 billion budget of DILG which is P806 million lesser than the current 2021 budget of P191.138 billion.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, ‘’self preservation is the ultimate goal of any individual or society (and) let’s preserve our budget and go into other lofty goals like self actualization ,’’ he said.

Angara told the DILG family that the Senate last year raised their budget by as much as P3 billion because of amendments made by him and senators Ronald ‘’Bato’’ dela Rosa, Nancy Binay and Sherwin T. Gatchalian.

Angara said that with 85 percent of the DILG family budget going to personnel services, the Senate has to consider the need to buy more body cameras, police cars, fire stations, among others.

‘’We are trying to do that. Please trust your lawmakers to make some difficult judgment,’’ he added.