Malacañang has assured the public that the Department of Health (DOH) has enough funds to fight against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), even as the number of cases in the country is rising.
According to presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo, this was the same assurance given to them by Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado.
“Hindi naman (kukulangin sa budget) dahil sa ngayon okay pa naman ang DOH. Meron pa namang pagkukunan pa. In-assure sa atin ni Secretary Wendel Avisado na meron tayong pera,” Panelo assured.
The DOH has asked Congress for a P2-billion supplemental budget in light of the threat posed by COVID-19.
The budget will be used to purchase surgical masks and personal protective equipment of the thousands of health workers in the frontlines of the fight against the virus.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the department can for the meantime use the P530 million of its 2020 budget to help contain the spread of COVID-19, which has already killed thousands of people abroad, most of them in China where the virus originated.
The Philippines has 24 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of Tuesday morning.
President Rodrigo Duterte has already declared a state of public health emergency and suspended classes in all levels in the National Capital Region (NCR) as a precautionary measure.
Duterte said the proclamation would facilitate measures to address the threat of the virus including mandatory reporting, quarantine and disease control prevention.
Panelo said protocols in dealing with COVID-19 have already been established.
“All we have to do in the agency is to implement them,” he said. /Stacy Ang