Additional funding for gov’t hospitals pushed

Senator Pia S. Cayetano continues to push for an increase in the funding allotment for government hospitals which were substantially reduced under the proposed P1.645-trillion national government budget for next year.

Cayetano, Chair of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, earlier voted ‘No’ to the chamber’s version of the general appropriations bill which senators approved on third and final reading last week by a vote of 12-2.

A member of the minority, Cayetano criticized the proposed spending outlay for ‘splurging’ P21 billion on an ‘untested’ anti-poverty program (the Conditional Cash Transfer or CCT scheme), even while it ‘scrimped’ on basic social and economic services, including health, public tertiary education, agriculture and vital infrastructure.

In a letter she submitted to Senate Finance Committee Chair Franklin Drilon over the weekend, Cayetano pushed for P200-million worth of amendments to the 2011 budget, bulk of which will go to government hospitals and health services.

Her letter, along with the amendments proposed by other senators, are expected to be included in the upper chamber’s version of the budget which will be taken up by a bicameral committee together with the House version beginning Tuesday.

She proposed a total of P55 million to augment the maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) of 26 government hospitals from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, including in the National Capital Region.

She also pushed for additional capital outlay worth P15 million to purchase medical equipment and P10 million for the women and child protection unit of hospitals under the Department of Health (DOH). She likewise batted for P10 million for the University of the Philippines System, including P5 million for the Philippine General Hospital.

Aside from health, Cayetano likewise pushed for additional allotments for women empowerment programs under the Magna Carta of Women and the Anti-Violence Against Women and Children Act (AVAWC); implementation of the Clean Air Act; and allocations for various protected areas including Tubbataha Reef, Apo Reef, Mts. Banahaw and Cristobal, Mt. Kitanglad, Central Cebu National Park and Mts. Iglit-Baco National Park. #

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