President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday signed into law the P5.024-trillion national budget for 2022, which includes funding for the country’s fight against the Covid-19 pandemic and vaccination drive.

During the signing ceremony in Malacañang, Duterte said the budget aimed to build resilience amid the pandemic, sustain momentum towards recovery and continue the legacy of infrastructure development.

“As we mark the signing of the 2022 national budget and other specific laws that will benefit all Filipinos—let us all emulate Rizal’s heroism and courage by serving our country with dedication, integrity and accountability and by doing what is right and just for our people,” Duterte said during the signing, which coincided with Rizal Day.

“There is no better way to serve the Filipino people but by giving them the honest, efficient and responsive government that they deserve,” he added.

The 2022 budget is for Duterte’s final year in office.

It includes P188.3 billion for the Department of Health, which includes money for Covid-19 vaccines, upgrading of healthcare facilities, building hospitals and more.

“So iyan lang ang ipag-ano ko sa inyo. I’m leaving the office in a few months. Ang natatakot lang ako ‘yung response na naman natin and how it would intrude into the budget na although we expect nandito pa ‘yung pandemic tumatakbo, pero kung ang hawaan talagang mabilis, then we will have the same problem again,” Duterte said.

The budget also allotted about P190 billion for social amelioration programs including the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program and Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situations.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines was given P213.78 billion, while the Philippine National Police was given P190.69 billion.

The controversial National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict was given a P17-billion budget.

Duterte also signed the bill establishing the Department of Migrant Workers. John Ezekiel J. Hirro