Duque: No transfer of 2022 funds

September 3, 2021 Ryan Ponce Pacpaco 560 views

HEALTH Sec. Francisco Duque III has assured congressmen that his agency would not transfer any of its funds for 2022 to the Procurement Service of the Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM).

Duque made the commitment on Thursday in answer to a question raised by Deputy Speaker and Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez during a House budget hearing.

Rodriguez said the Department of Health (DoH) should be the agency that should procure its supplies, instead of delegating the task to the PS-DBM, to avoid receiving adverse findings from the Commission on Audit (CoA).

“I’d just like [to hear] the commitment. There have been many questions. COA flagged your [budget of] P67 billion, P42 billion of which was transferred to PS-DBM. Can we get a commitment that you will not place the P19.68 billion for 2022 for personal protective equipment (PPE), face masks, face shields, and COVID-19 (coronavirus disease-19) testing kits to PS-DBM. It is your obligation to bid this out. You should do it. DOH should do it,” he told Duque.

“You are not going to give any single centavo of this P19.680 billion to PS-DBM,” Duque said.

In response, Duque said none of the 2022 funds budget for PPE, test kits and other supplies would be transferred to PS-DBM.

Rodriguez also proposed that the P45-billion budget next year for booster shots should be included under the regular program to ensure availability of funds in the procurement of the needed vaccine supply. Duque earlier said the COVID-19 pandemic may last for one to two years, and that the country may only attain its target of herd immunity in the first quarter of 2022 instead of December this year due to the limited supply of Covid-19 vaccines.

Rodriguez also asked Duque on the status of the P11 Million for the payment of the special risk allowance (SRA) of Barangay Health Workers (BHW) and Barangay Nutrition Scholars (BNS) in Cagayan de Oro who are directly catering to or in contact with COVID-19 patients.

Duque said his office is already working on it and would update Rodriguez on the download of funds for such purpose.

Rodriguez likewise reminded Duque on the meals, accommodation, and transportation (MAT) allowance of health care workers (HCWs), which the House leader has repeatedly pushed for its immediate release.

The Mindanao lawmaker has received a commitment from the DoH during a previous hearing that it would request funds from the DBM for the MAT allowance of HCWs, BHWs and BNS as mandated under the Bayanihan 2 law.

It would be noted that President Duterte has given the DBM and DoH 10 days to pay all necessary benefits of health workers in the entire country.