Senator Pia Cayetano has expressed support to the Aquino administration’s pledge to fulfill the country’s targets under the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), but at the same time warned that the commitment must be backed up with sufficient budgetary support.
“It is good that Pres. Aquino has pledged to achieve the MDGs and I have personally expressed my support to him. Since the term of the previous Arroyo administration, the Philippines has been lagging behind in many crucial targets,” Cayetano said.
“The President’s commitment must be reflected in the national budget, however. There should be sufficient funding for programs geared towards achieving the MDGs,” she added”
Citing an example, she noted the inadequate allocation to the National Expanded Program on Immunization of the DOH under the proposed P1.645-trillion General Appropriations Bill for 2011.
The program was given a budget of only P960 million next year, the same amount it got this year, even if the funding requirement for it has gone up to P1.2 billion. Supporting the national immunization program is a crucial step towards reducing child mortality under MDG No.4, stressed Cayetano.
She said the President must likewise ensure that all concerned department secretaries are made accountable and should be on top of government programs involving the MDGs.
The country has been making slow progress in several targets, including reducing maternal mortality ratio under MDG No.5; achieving universal primary education under MDG No.2; and combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other major diseases under MDG No.6.
Lastly, she said the administration can tap part of the $112-million “anti-poverty component” of the $434-million grant from the US Millennium Challenge Corp. to also support the MDG programs.