Gov’t still has enough budget for COVID-19 response — DBM
Marje Pelayo • July 8, 2020 • 438
MANILA, Philippines — The national government has shed a total amount of P374.89 billion on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, according President Rodrigo Duterte during the recent pre-SONA forum.
The largest chunk, according to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), was spent on programs designed to strengthen the country’s health sector and relief assistance to those who were affected by the lockdowns.
Still, the DBM maintained that the government has enough budget to sustain its COVID-19 response.
“Mayroon pong sapat na pondo ang ating pamahalaan upang tugunan at labanan ang patuloy na pananalasa ng COVID-19 pandemic po sa ating bansa (Our government has enough budget to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country),” assured DBM Secretary Wendell Avisado.
Meanwhile, the government has raised around P5.28 billion US dollars budgetary financing support from development partners apart from the P126.36 million U.S dollars from ongoing financing for COVID-19 response projects.
The Duterte Cabinet stressed the need to open the economy in Metro Manila and the CALABARZON region in order for the country’s overall economy to gradually recover considering that 67 percent of the country’s economy depends on these two regions.
However, they emphasized the public’s important role in economic recovery, thus strict compliance with the government’s minimum health standards to curb the spread of COVID-19 is critical.
“It is vital that the economies of these regions reopen. The reality is, this virus won’t go away until a vaccine is found. In the meantime, we have to go back to work, while staying safe,” noted Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez.
Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, meanwhile, urged the public to be vigilant and responsible to avoid being infected with the deadly virus.
“Each and every Filipino needs to be very vigilant. We should all continue observing social distancing, and other public health measures such as wearing masks, and frequent washing of hands to protect each other’s health and well-being,” he said.
“We must act responsibly,” he concluded. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)
The DILG was earlier authorized under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act or Bayanihan 2 Law to hire at least 50,000 contact tracers to ramp up the government’s contact tracing program in the current pandemic on coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said, the additional contact tracers will greatly amplify the country’s efforts to further decrease the number of COVID-19 daily cases.
The 50,000 contact tracers to be hired will be assigned to the various contact tracing teams (CTTs) of the local government units.
Undersecretary and spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said that contractual personnel whose employment were not renewed, overseas Filipino workers whose employment were disrupted, local employees whose service have been recently terminated, and barangay health workers may be given priority in the hiring process if qualified.
To qualify, applicants must have the following credentials:
Must have a Bachelor’s degree or college level in an allied medical course or criminology course
Must be skilled in data gathering and have assisted in research and documentation;
Must be able to interview COVID-19 cases and close contacts in order to gather data;
Must possess the ability to advocate public health education messages;
Must have investigative capability.
Among their responsibilities include:
To conduct interviews, profiling, and perform an initial public health risk assessment of COVID-19 cases and their identified close contacts;
To refer the close contacts to isolation facilities; conduct enhanced contact tracing in collaboration with other agencies and private sectors;
To conduct daily monitoring of close and general contacts for at least 14 days, and perform such other tasks in relation to the COVID response.
Under the guidelines drafted by the DILG, the contact tracers will earn a minimum of P18,784 per month in a contract of service status.
The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said there will be no budget to be allotted for the government’s Social Amelioration Program (SAP) under the proposed 2021 National Budget.
DBM Secretary Wendel Avisado said they expect the economy to recover next year with additional job opportunities available.
He also clarified that there will still be an allotted budget for the regular programs of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
“We’re looking at the improvement in the economy and the opportunity for people to be able to work already. And we still have the regular programs, the 4Ps your honor, that will be continued,” he said on Wednesday (September 9) during a Senate hearing.
Under the proposed P4.5 trillion budget, P171 billion will be allotted to the DSWD. AAC (with reports from Harlene Delgado)
The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has submitted the Fiscal Year 2021 National Expenditure Program (NEP) of P4.506 trillion to Congress.
The 2021 proposed National Budget is 9.9% higher compared with this year’s ₱4.1-trillion appropriations.
The DBM said the proposed budget went through numerous hearings and consultations with different government agencies. The theme of the proposed budget, according to the department, is “Reset, Rebound, and Recover: Investing for Resiliency and Sustainability”.
Personnel Services will corner the bulk of the FY 2021 NEP at 29.2% or P1.32 trillion to accommodate the additional hiring of health workers under the Human Resource for Health Program of the Department of Health (DOH) amid the fight against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
“The FY 2021 NEP will prioritize health-related COVID-19 response programs to address the continuing threat of the pandemic,” the DBM said in a statement.
This also includes the second tranche implementation of the Salary Standardization law, and the increased pension requirements of military and uniformed personnel.
Capital outlays has the second highest with P920.5 billion or 20.4% of the proposed budget. Maintenance, Operating and Other Expenditures will amount to P699.4 billion, Debt Burden with P560.2 billion, Support to Government-Owned and -Controlled Corporations with P157.5 billion, and Tax Expenditures with P14.5 billion.
Meanwhile, the Department of Education (DepEd) remains the top agency with the biggest slice from the proposed budget, with an allocation of P754.4 billion. This is followed by DPWH with a proposed budget of P667.3 billion.
The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) has a proposed budget of P246.1 billion, the Department of National Defense (DND) with P209.1 billion, the DOH with P203.1 billion (including the budget for the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation). AAC
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