The Duterte administration’s proposed 2022 budget spending aims to ramp up the response efforts against Covid-19 and ensure the country’s recovery from the pandemic-induced economic slump, Malacañang said on Thursday.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque issued the statement in a virtual presser, after several lawmakers questioned the supposedly “misplaced” priorities in the government’s 2022 budget plan.
“What’s important is we are preparing for two things next year – first is our fight against the disease and second, our recovery from the pandemic,” Roque said in Filipino.
On Tuesday, Gabriela Rep. Arlene Brosas said that under the 2022 National Expenditure Program, only P12.58 billion will be earmarked for health infrastructure, a mere one percent of the total P1.18-trillion 2022 infrastructure budget.
Brosas also does not support what she called as preference to “overwhelmingly prioritize road networks and other structures” under the administration’s “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program.
Roque said a big chunk of the proposed P5.024 trillion national budget for 2022 will be used to finance the administration’s infrastructure projects to create more job opportunities for Filipinos who lost their jobs because of the pandemic.
“So, let’s not question the allotment of higher budget for ‘Build, Build, Build’ because the ‘Build, Build, Build’ program will provide more jobs for many of our fellow countrymen,” he said in Filipino.
Roque also assured the public that despite the surge in Covid-19 infections in the country, the government has been able to manage the Covid-19 pandemic “very well.”
“We are managing our Covid response very well,” he said in Filipino.
Citing the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recent statement on the Philippines’ pandemic response efforts, Roque said the Duterte administration has a “very good comprehensive plan” to stop the further transmission of Covid-19.
Roque also noted that the government’s health and quarantine protocols have helped limit the coronavirus-related deaths in the country.