House allots P20-B fund for booster shots under 2022 budget

(PNA file photo)

MANILA – The House of Representatives has allocated PHP20 billion for the procurement of Covid-19 vaccines and booster shots, as well as PHP4.5 billion for the special risk allowance of public and private health care workers.

House Appropriations Committee chair Eric Yap said these are among the amendments introduced by the small committee to House Bill 10153 or the proposed PHP5.024-trillion budget for 2022, which would be “crucial for our full recovery from the pandemic as a nation”.

“After careful consideration and consultations, we have finalized the amendments for HBN 10153. As illustrated, we have appropriated additional budget to the following agencies to further enable them to swiftly, efficiently, and effectively address the needs of the Filipino people,” Yap said.

Aside from lodging more funding for additional vaccine jabs and allowances for health care workers, the chamber also earmarked PHP5 billion for the Medical Assistance to Indigent Patients (MAIP) of the Department of Health.

The House also introduced amendments providing funding for the departments’ programs and projects, including:

Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE): PHP10 billion for the Tulong Pangkabuhayan sa Ating Disadvantaged or Displaced Workers Program (TUPAD) with priorities to indigent families, informal sector families, and those under the next lower poverty level.

Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD): PHP10 billion for the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS); and PHP1 billion for the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP).

Department of Transportation (DOTr): PHP6 billion for the Service Contracting Program (SCP), which extends assistance to transport drivers and operators to tide them over amid health measures enforced in public transportation and to provide free rides to the commuting public.

State Universities and Colleges (SUCs): PHP504 million for the operational requirement of four SUCs in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), namely: the Adiong Memorial Polytechnic State College in Lanao del Sur, Cotabato State University, Sulu State College, and Tawi-Tawi Regional Agricultural College.

Department of Information and Communications (DICT): PHP3 billion for the National Broadband, which aims to set-up well-established network to provide faster, efficient, and equitable broadband connectivity to the country, especially for the geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas (GIDAs).

Department of National Defense (DND): PHP5.5 billion as down payment for the acquisition of five units of C-130 J for the Humanitarian Assistance Disaster Relief (HADR) operations of the Philippine Air Force.

“We are grateful to Speaker Lord Allan Velasco, to Majority Leader Martin Romualdez, to the Vice Chairpersons and Members of the Appropriations Committee, and to our Honorable Members for their active participation during the deliberations and for their efforts in ensuring the timely passage of HBN 10153,” Yap said.

Yap said the House is committed to provide the enabling mechanisms for responsive and dynamic governance and to strengthen the capabilities of the government in addressing the effects of the pandemic.

“Rest assured that the government’s battle strategy on health and nutrition, social protection, governance, and development, are carried out in this budget,” Yap said.

Next year’s budget is 11.5 percent higher than this year’s PHP4.506 trillion.

The departments with the biggest allocations are the Department of Education with PHP773.6 billion budget; Department of Public Works and Highways, PHP686.1 billion; Department of the Interior and Local Government, PHP250.4 billion; Department of Health, PHP242 billion; Department of National Defense, PHP222 billion; and the Department of Social Welfare and Development, PHP191.4 billion.

About 38.3 percent or PHP1.922 trillion of the budget will go to social services; 29.3 percent or PHP1.474 trillion to economic services; 17.2 percent or PHP862.7 billion to general public services; 10.8 percent or PHP541.3 billion to debt burden (including net lending); and 4.5 percent or PHP224.4 billion to defense.

The House approved the spending measure on final reading on Sept. 30 with 238 affirmative votes, 6 negative votes, and no abstention. (PNA)

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