05 February 2016
Lump Sums in the DOH Budget: Savings?
With the new definition of savings, lump sums in the 2016 DOH Budget questionable
Aside from the “disturbingly large amounts of money” moved around in the 2016 budget of the Department of Health after it went through the Bicameral Conference Committee, the budget has “disturbingly large amounts of money” lumped together with no clear line items.
According to Health Alliance for Democracy (HEAD), the budget allocation for “General Administration and Support” grew by a whopping 7.485 billion pesos, from 428.95 million pesos only in 2015 to 7.913 billion pesos in 2016.
“Why the DOH would suddenly need such an amount is hard to imagine,” said Dr. Joseph Carabeo, HEAD secretary-general. “This was not clearly explained, even when Health Secretary Jeannette Garin was asked for details during the budget deliberations in the House of Representatives.”
At the same time, the budget for “Technical Support Services” ballooned by 31 billion pesos, from 61.381 billion pesos in 2015 to 92.441 billion pesos in 2016. Much of this increase is due to the budget for the Health Facilities Enhancement Program, which more than doubled, from 13.271 billion pesos in 2015 to 26.872 billion pesos in 2016.
“Yet these improvements are for Rural Health Units and local-government unit-run (LGU) hospitals, which are health facilities located in the urban or municipal centers” Carabeo noted.“Barangay health stations, which provide services more at the grassroots level, are once again left out.”
HEAD also notes that despite the substantial increase in the health budget, the allocation for more relevant programs and much-needed services has remained basically the same.
“For years, we have demanded a bigger budget for the DOH. The 2016 health budget only proves that without the spirit of service and the people’s interest at heart, any budget increase, no matter how big, becomes irrelevant. Worse, under the Aquino government, the budget increase is only being used to promote self-serving political interests.” Carabeo said. ###