MANILA – The government can tap other sources of funds to finance the government’s effort to respond to the threat of Covid-19, Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go said after the House Appropriations Committee only approved a PHP1.65-billion supplemental budget for the purpose.
“Since the Department of Health (DOH) is requesting an additional PHP3.1 billion, additional funds may be raised from other sources,” Go said in a statement.
The DOH earlier sought the additional funds for the following: PHP2.035 billion for personal protective equipment (PPE), PHP933 million for the Bureau of Quarantine, and PHP139 million for the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM).
Go said the rest of the funding requirement could be raised from among others, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) and the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).
“I mentioned last Monday that I personally spoke to Pagcor chair Andrea Domingo and she said that they can provide additional funding amounting to PHP2 billion,” he said
Go said another PHP420 million from PCSO will also be allocated “based on a proclamation to be issued” by President Rodrigo Duterte.
He pointed out that there is about PHP539 million in DOH savings and another PHP81 million from the DOH Quick Response Fund that can be utilized.
“Adding all these together, we have a total of roughly PHP4.6 billion to help DOH and concerned agencies respond to the needs of our people amid the Covid-19 situation,” Go said.
If the amount is not yet enough, he said there are still the Contingency Fund and the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund that can be standby sources, “if needed.”
Go assured the public that by virtue of President Duterte’s Proclamation No. 922, which declared the Philippines under the State of Public Health Emergency, “all available resources of the government will be utilized properly and efficiently to respond to this (Covid-19) crisis” and ensure the safety of all Filipinos.
“Additionally, the declaration allows the LGUs (local government units) to utilize their local disaster risk reduction management funds (LDRRMF) under RA 10121,” he said.
Go assured that he will use the oversight function of his office to ensure that the fight against Covid-19 is carried out effectively and in a transparent manner.
“As a Senator and Chair of the Senate Committee on Health, sisiguraduhin ko na ginagawa ng mga opisyal at mga ahensya ng gobyerno ang kanilang tungkulin na mapangalagaan ang kalusugan ng bawat Pilipino. Sisiguraduhin rin natin na kahit piso mula sa kaban ng bayan ay hindi masasayang (I will ensure that concerned officials and agencies of the government are doing their duty to take care of the health of each Filipino. We will also ensure that not a single peso from the government coffers will be wasted),” he said. (PNA)