The Department of Health (DOH) said they need a supplemental budget amounting to P67.62 billion to augment the funding for its coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) response measures.
Health Undersecretary Gerardo Bayugo made the remark during the virtual meeting of the House Committee on Metro Manila Development.
“We have proposed a supplemental budget amounting to P67.62 billion. What the DBM (Department of Budget and Management) approved so far is P45.72 billion,” Bayugo said.
“Some of the difference is dahil may mga earlier released. Mayroong pinag-aaralan pa, ongoing review and may mga kailangang i-resubmit. Yun yung pinaka-macro budget namin na hiningi for supplemental,” he said.
Bayugo said P2.28 billion have already been realigned from the DOH’s budget which can be used to cover the requirements for its COVID-19 response.
Bayugo said these realigned funds will be used for the Health Facilities Enhancement Program, for the purchase of test kits and personal protective equipment, and for the funding of measures for prevention and control of other infectious diseases.
The said amount will likewise be used for the hiring of additional manpower as well as for the augmentation of the department’s quick response fund as contingent funds for future developments related to COVID-19, he added.
Bayugo said that in terms of health manpower, there are so far 6,225 approved slots for healthcare workers that the DOH can hire, with a budget of P165 million.
The DOH has hired more or less 3,000 additional health manpower so far, he added.
During the same virtual meeting, the DOH also reported about the current number of COVID-19 cases in Metro Manila.
Bayugo said that as of May 18, there are 8,245 cases of COVID-19 in the country’s capital region. This makes up 64.8% of the total reported cases of the disease in the country so far.
Out of this figure, 5,023 are active cases, while 1,938 have already recovered and 608 died.
Overall, a total of 12,718 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the Philippines as of May 18, with 831 deaths and 2,729 recoveries./Stacy Ang