The Department of Health (DOH) said it would ask Congress for more funding for the  emergency benefits and allowances of health-care workers after the government cut some P57 billion from its proposed 2023 budget.

As per the national expenditure program, the health department will receive about P20 billion in funding for the provision of emergency benefits of healthcare workers. However, the said allocation is way below what the department had asked, according to Officer-in-Charge Maria Rosario Vergeire.

“We will appeal to the Congress if they could add more [funding] so we could continue to provide benefits for our health workers,” Vergeire said during a press briefing.

Vergeire said that a total allocation of P301 billion has been submitted for proposal for the DOH and its attached agencies and corporations for 2023.

One of the health department’s priority programs is the national healthcare workforce support system, which would receive a P17 billion budget. The said allocation is on top of the P20 billion that would be saved from emergency allowances, which includes the One Covid-19 Allowance (OCA) and Health Emergency Allowance (HEA).

Other priority funding of the DOH are the following: premium subsidy for the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (P100 billion); hospital operations (P45 billion); public health programs for tuberculosis, cancer, human immunodeficiency virus, mental health and other illnesses (24 billion); health facilities enhancement program (P23 billion); and medical assistance for indigent patients (P22 billion).

 

Ronald Espartinez