Lawmakers say national budget must keep pace with COVID-19 pandemic

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 16, 2021   •   103

MANILA, Philippines— Some lawmakers believe that the proposed national budget for 2022 does not fit with the country’s continuous fight against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Senator Nancy Binay lamented that the country is a step behind when it comes to addressing the effects and risks of COVID-19.

Hindi natin nauunahan ang virus. Lagi tayong nasa catch-up. Kaya para sa akin for next year unahan na natin, pondohan na natin (We can’t seem to get ahead of the virus. We are always catching up. So, for me, for next year let us catch up to it. Let’s allot a budget for it),” she said.

Binay finds next year’s budget lacking with regards to providing aid, and raised concern on the placement of P45 billion fund for COVID-19 booster shots under unprogrammed funds. She also noted the lack of budget for contract tracing.

Ang 2022 budget is not ready for a war with COVID-19 ang daming kulang. Can you imagine, walang budget for contact tracing? And then noong tinanong ko sa Department of Budget and Management (DBM) bakit walang budget, ang sagot sa akin, kasi hindi raw hiningi ng Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), (The 2022 budget is not ready for a war with COVID-19, there is a lot lacking. Can you imagine, there is no budget for contract tracing? And when I asked the DBM why there is no budget, they said, ” It’s because DILG did not ask for it”), Binay said.

Chairman of the Committee on Finance Senator Sonny Angara noted that many of the requirements of the various government agencies and offices are not contained in the copy of the national budget submitted to Congress, particularly those related to the COVID-19 response.

“Agencies should be allowed to submit revisions to their proposed budgets to reflect new developments brought about by the pandemic. The spread of COVID has been rapid and our budget must be able to keep up with it,” the senator said.

Iloilo 1st District Rep. Janette Garin also noted that there is no budget for COVID-19 testing.

“The current proposed NEP (national expenditure program) while there are provisions there for some response for the pandemic, you also have a lot of items under the DOH that can actually be realigned for the procurement of vaccines,” she said. AAC (with reports from Harlene Delgado)

House assures no delay in transmission of approved 2022 GAA to Senate

Maris Federez   •   October 15, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives (HOR) targets to submit to the Senate the approved Php5.045-trillion General Appropriations Act (GAA) for 2022 on or before October 27.

House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco said this will give the Senate enough time to examine the government spending plan for next year.

The amendments made in the proposed budget are as follows:

  • 5 billion for the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines, medical assistance for poor families, and the special risk allowance for healthcare workers;
  • 5 billion for five new C130 planes;
  • Php 504 million allotted for the operation of four state universities in the Bangsamoro region;
  • Additional Php10 billion for the Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD) program;
  • Php11 billion for the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) program and livelihood program under the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) that will be used as an aid to families affected by COVID-19.
  • Php6 billion for service the service contracting program for public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers; and
  • Php3 billion for the national broadband program of the Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT)

Velasco hopes that the bill will be submitted to Malacañang in December for President Rodrigo Duterte’s approval and signature.  —/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Nel Maribojoc)

Pagpapalawig ng COVID-19 pediatric vaccination naka-depende sa resulta ng phase 1 – DOH

Robie de Guzman   •   October 15, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Tatlumpung araw ang itatagal ng pilot implementation ng pagbabakuna kontra COVID-19 sa mga batang may edad 12 hanggang 17 sa Metro Manila.

Ayon sa Department of Health (DOH), phase 1 ng pediatric vaccination ang pagbabakuna sa mga batang may co-morbidity at prayoridad sa unang linggo ng implementasyon ang mga batang may medical record na sa participating hospitals, naka-admit man o outpatient.

Ayon kay DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, wala pa silang maibibigay na detalye ukol sa phase 2 ng pediatric vaccination dahil nakasalalay sa result ng unang phase ang desisyon kung palalawigin ito.

“Ito po ang pag-uusapan ano, lahat po ng succeeding phases will be dependent on what happens sa pilot implementation, this Phase 1,” ani Vergeire.

“Titingnan natin lahat ng operational issues and different important aspects na kailangan natin ikonsidera bago po tayo lumipat sa Phase 2. That’s the main reason why we do pilot para makita po natin how we can further improve our processes,” dagdag pa niya.

Ayon sa DOH, naka-abang rin sila sa magiging kalalabasan ng unang araw ng pagbabakuna, kasabay ng pagtitiyak na tututukan nilang maigi ang pagbabantay sa mga batang tinurukan ng bakuna.

“We still do not have that data right now. Unang-una wala po tayong national registry for this specific comorbidity of children. Meron ho tayong pailan-ilan in the bases for some of these comorbidities but it is not complete. What we are relying on right now, would be yung mga dadating sa ating mga ospital although meron ng pool of patients ang mga ito, na kanilang mga pasyente na talaga ng kanilang pediatricians doon sa hospitals that we have identified,” ani Vergeire.

“Maybe after one week, we can give you a rundown of how many children were vaccinated based on the number of patients that we have in that specific hospital,” dagdag pa niya.

Ngayong Biyernes sinimulan ng pamahalaan ang pilot pediatric vaccination saw along piling ospital sa Metro Manila.

Ang mga ito ay ang Philippine Children’s Medical Center,
National Children’s Hospital, Philippine Heart Center,
Pasig City General Hospital,
 Fe Del Mundo Medical Center,
 Philippine General Hospital,
 Makati Medical Center at ang St. Luke’s Medical Center sa Taguig. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Aiko Miguel)

 

PH rolls out first phase of COVID-19 vaccination for minors

Maris Federez   •   October 15, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The first phase of the COVID-19 vaccination for children aged 12 to 17 started Friday in eight selected hospitals in the National Capital Region.

Among the selected hospitals is the Pasig City General Hospital (PCGH) where 90 children received the first dose of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines.

The priority this week will be given to children who are current patients or already have medical records in the said hospital.

According to PCGH administrator Dr. Arlene Samonte, none of the children who were vaccinated experienced immediate adverse reactions.

She added that the hospital had carefully placed the children under pre-screening and assessment before administering the vaccine to them.

“We gave some initial counseling and education, the side effect, of course… para they will know what to expect also,” Samonte said. —/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Janice Ingente)

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