DBM releases COVID-19 response fund

Maris Federez   •   May 5, 2021   •   93

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has assured the public that there are sufficient funds for the government’s response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

In a statement released on Tuesday (April 4), the DBM said “sufficient funds are made available to Departments and Agencies for programs and projects in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The DBM added that aside from the regular appropriations that each agency is getting under the Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 General Appropriations Act (GAA) and the continuing FY 2020 GAA, “the total amount of P189.442-billion in allotments pursuant to the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Bayanihan II) may still be utilized until June 30, 2021.”

“This is also on top of the P60.605-billion additional allotments released to the Department of Health for foreign-assisted projects, particularly on the procurement of vaccines and other essential equipment and supplies,” it added.

The advisory further said that the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund will be tapped for other COVID-19 pandemic measures that may not be covered by all available funding sources.

Details of all these releases are uploaded on the DBM website for the information and reference of all concerned, the agency said.

The DBM assures that it is committed to fulfilling its mandate “of promoting the efficient and effective management of the national budget to support its budget priorities while also ensuring that the needs of the Filipino people, especially during challenging times such as this, are met.”

DBM clarifies use of NDRRM funds for other disasters, calamities

Maris Federez   •   May 5, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has clarified a recently published article on the use of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund (NDRRMF).

In its press release dated April 4, the department said, “With the enactment of the FY 2021 General Appropriations Act (GAA), Republic Act (RA) No. 11518, and the extension of the validity of the FY 2020 GAA, RA No. 11465, the NDRRMF has a total available appropriation of P25.135-billion as of January 01, 2021.”

This, the DBM said, is broken down as follows:

  • NDRRM Program – 13,439,188,981.00
  • Marawi Recovery, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Program (MRRRP) – 5,008,187,890.00
  • Comprehensive Aid to Repair Earthquake Damage (CARED) – 4,688,064,133.00
  • Insurance Premium – 2,000,000,000.00

The DBM said the utilization of these appropriations is covered by pertinent Special Provisions of the GAA based on their specific purposes, and that releases are made “based on the approval of the Office of the President (OP) on the recommendation of the NDRRM Council.”

Aside from specific purposes such as the MRRRP and CARED, the appropriations under the NDRRM Program may be used for disaster risk reduction or mitigation, and on prevention and preparedness activities, the statement said.

Additionally, it may also be used for “reconstruction, rehabilitation, repair, aid, relief, and other works or services, in connection with the occurrence of natural or human-induced calamities, epidemics as declared by the DOH, crises resulting from armed conflicts, insurgency, terrorism, and other catastrophes occurring in the current or two (2) preceding years.”

The DBM said that, as of April 30, 2021, it has already released a total of P2.909-billion in allotments.

The agency is also processing an “additional P2.779-billion based on recent approvals from the OP covering disaster-related programs and projects in response to calamities occurring from 2018 to 2021.”

The remaining P19.445-billion appropriations, it said, will be used based on the specific purposes and allotments.

Such will be released by the DBM to appropriate Departments and Agencies upon receipt of the corresponding approvals from the Office of the President.

5 additional modular hospitals soon to rise at Lung Center of the Philippines

Marje Pelayo   •   April 26, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has started construction activities for the additional five modular hospitals at the Lung Center of the Philippines (LCP) in Quezon City.

Secretary Mark Villar said the project is part of the efforts of the national government to expand the capacity of major hospitals attending to the needs of COVID-19 positive patients.

The agency said three of five layouts were already established on Saturday (April 24).

According to DPWH Task Force to Facilitate Augmentation of Local and National Health Facilities head Undersecretary Emil Sadain said four typical designs with 88 beds and one intensive care unit (ICU)-type modular hospital with 22 beds, or a total of 110-bed capacity, will be constructed based on the design and build plan agreed between the DPWH and the LCP management.

Once constructed, the facilities will accommodate mild, moderate, and severe cases of COVID-19 in addition to the earlier erected modular facilities within the LCP compound.

Prior to this, eight fully air-conditioned rooms with two beds per room were erected at the LCP premises to accommodate 16 moderate, severe, and critical COVID-19 cases, and 16 rooms with double-decker beds as temporary shelters for health professionals.

Overall, the DPWH has already constructed a number of modular facilities to augment major hospitals’ COVID-19 response which includes:

  • One (1) ICU type with 16 beds at the LCP
  • Four (4) typically designed and one ICU type modular hospital at the Quezon Institute-Philippine Tuberculosis Society Inc, in Quezon City with 110 beds
  • One (1) typically designed modular hospital with 22 beds at the Dr. Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial Hospital and Sanitarium, in Caloocan City; and
  • One (1) typically designed modular hospital with 21 beds and a 10-bed ICU type modular hospital at the  Batangas Medical Center in Batangas City.

Police halts protest of public school teachers in DBM office

Aileen Cerrudo   •   April 23, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Manila Police District (MPD) Station 14 has stopped the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) from protesting in front of the office of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) on Friday (April 23).

The MPD Station 14, headed by its commander P.Lt.Col. Ramon Nazario ordered the group to stop the protest since mass gathering is still prohibited amid the quarantine restriction as well as the group’s lack of permit.

Una una po alam niyo naman na nasa MECQ [Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine] tayo. Bawal po ang mga gatherings lalong lalo kung sa more than 10 at tsaka violation po ng social distancing so pinaalis po namin sila dito (Firstly, we are under MECQ. Mass gatherings are not allowed especially if it is more than 10. There was also a violation of social distancing so we asked them to leave the area),”  he said.

Meanwhile, the ACT denounces the actions of the MPD. The group said the teachers trooped to the office of the DBM to call for salary upgrading and grant of due benefits.

“The Alliance of Concerned Teachers denounced the ‘high-handed’ acts of the Manila Police District to deter the teachers’ protest action and confiscate their materials in front of the Department of Budget and Management,” the group said.

ACT NCR Union Executive Vice President Louie Zabala reiterated that the group was following health protocols and slammed that police authorities are only using the quarantine restrictions to prevent the group from airing their legitimate demand.

He also stressed that the teachers urgently need economic relief through the release of overly delayed benefits and fulfillment of the president’s promise of a substantial salary increase. AAC (with reports from Dante Amento)

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