MANILA, Philippines — Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Wendel E. Avisado goes on medical leave from August 02 to 13, 2021.
A statement released on Sunday (August 1) read that this is following the DBM chief’s recent bout with COVID-19 where he was hospitalized for 8 days and quarantined for over a month.
The decision was also based upon the advice of his doctor to undertake a series of examinations as it has been 14 years, the statement said, since he had undergone a quadruple open heart bypass.
To ensure that services of the Department remain unhampered, Undersecretary Tina Rose Marie L. Canda will serve as Officer-in-Charge during this period, the statement further read.
The DBM assured that it will remain “steadfast and committed to its mandate of promoting the efficient and effective management of the national budget to support its budget priorities especially in the midst of the pandemic.”
Meanwhile, Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Zarate slammed Avisado for taking a medical leave amid a stricter lockdown as Metro Manila and several provinces and cities are placed under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) starting Aug. 6.
“Just the other day Secretary Avisado said that he was still trying to find funds for the much-needed ayuda and awaited only a clear directive from President. Was such directive already given?” Zarate asked. “Was he able to find the budget to help our people before the ECQ is implemented?”
The lawmaker also asked the DBM for the 2022 budget proposal, stressing that the pandemic will very likely continue beyond 2021.
“Also, Congress still awaits the executive’s budget proposal for 2022 from the DBM. Is it done already? There is a need to immediately tackle the budget as we are still in the middle of a raging, surging pandemic; we must all act with urgency. This is also the reason why we are pushing for the fast-tracking of the Bayanihan 3 so that funds can be allotted for aid, ASAP,” he said.
“The Bayanihan 3 should be separate, supplemental budget this year. It should not be included in the 2022 budget proposal because our affected people need the ayuda now,” he added.
Zarate also proposed the sourcing of financial aid from the National Budget Circular 586 and the P4.5 billion presidential confidential and intelligence funds for the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, in case there is still a lack of funds for financial assistance.