DBM assures proper utilization of P838-B Covid-19 programs outlay

National, News

Budget and Management Secretary Wendel Avisado has assured the public the P838-billion budget allocated for the fight against Covid-19 will be used properly.

In an interview at the Laging Handa Public Briefing program aired over PTV-4, Avisado said the President’s instruction and directive is clear – “ensure that the funds will be used for the right expenses.”

These funds include those allocated under the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act (Bayanihan 1), Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Bayanihan2) and the 2021 national budget.

Avisado explaned that while the combined budget for Covid-19 programs is huge, funds alloyed to programs of the Department of Health (DOH) under the 2021 national budget only amounts to P2.5 billion. This is not an issue, however, he added, because the fight against Covid-19 and its impact is a shared responsibility among agencies of government.

Avisado explained that there is a PHP25-billion standby funds for vaccine procurement under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act, thus, there was no provision for this for the DOH budget anymore.

He said next year’s national expenditure program includes a P2.5-billion budget for Covid-19 vaccine acquisition and Congress augmented this through an additional allocation of P70 billion, although as an unprogrammed fund.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez was earlier reported to have said that the unprogrammed fund can be accessed through bilateral, multilateral, domestic or foreign borrowings.

“So we can really source the funds needed to procure the vaccines,” he assured. The vaccine procurement program has a minimum timeframe of three years.

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