The Duterte administration is allocating a P240.7 billion budget for the country’s Covid-19 pandemic response, including P45.3 billion for the procurement of Covid-19 vaccine booster shots.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the P240.7 billion funding requirement for Covid-19 response efforts is stipulated in the P5.024 trillion proposed 2022 National Expenditure Plan (NEP).
“I just want to emphasize that this is preliminary. This is stipulated in the National Expenditure Plan but this can be changed by Congress. They can add, they can remove,” Roque said in Filipino in a Palace press briefing.
Under the P240.7 billion Covid-response fund, he said P93.7 billion will be allocated to the Department of Health (DOH) for the Health Facilities Enhancement Program, Prevention and Control of Communicable Diseases, Assistance to Indigent Patients, Procurement and Supply Chain Management Service, among others.
The DOH allocation will also include P45.3 billion for the procurement of Covid-19 vaccine booster shots, he said.
Amid concerns that antibodies in some Covid-19 vaccines fade after six months since the country kicked off its vaccination drive in March, Roque assured that the government could procure Covid-19 vaccine booster shots earlier since they are already funded by multilateral lending agencies.
“We will see because this procurement will start to arrive as early as January but we can purchase them earlier if we need to because even if it’s part of the national budget, that’s already funded from the multilateral lending agencie),” he said in Filipino.
Roque, meanwhile, said the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) will receive a budget of P33.6 billion which will go to livelihood and emergency employment including funding for the agency’s Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD).
The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) will have an allocation of P11.2 billion for welfare services including its emergency repatriation program and reintegration services for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), he said.
Roque said P11.5 billion will go to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) for its promotive social welfare programs.