By Genalyn Kabiling
The government is seeking billions to bankroll programs on healthcare services, subsidies for the poor, and supplementary feeding program next year.
Under the proposed P3.757-trillion national budget for 2019, President Duterte said the Department of Health (DOH) would receive P141.4 billion to implement the national health insurance program, purchase medicines, and vaccines, improve nutrition, among others.
For social protection measures, Duterte said at least P88.1 billion would also be provided to support the PantawidPamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), and another P3.5 billion for the supplementary feeding program for day-care children next year.
The proposed national budget for 2019 was submitted by the President to Congress last Monday, the same day he delivered his State of Nation Address (SONA).
Social services, including health, education, and social protection measures, will get the biggest portion of the budget at P1.377 trillion or 36.7 percent.
P67.4 B for PhilHealth
In the DOH budget, the President said P67.4 billion would be allocated to the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) to fund the program providing affordable and accessible health insurance to indigent persons, senior citizens, and families.
“Universal health coverage ensures that low income individuals stay healthy and productive, thus resulting in improved capacities to access higher income opportunities,”Duterte said in his budget message to Congress.
The proposed health budget also covers the P15.2-billion acquisition of medicines, vaccines, and medical and laboratory supplies; P8-billion full immunization of 2.8 million children; P3 billion to strengthen the prevention, control, and eradication of infectious diseases.
Duterte said the government would also boost efforts in ensuring the safety of Dengvaxia vaccines. At least P213 million would be allocated for the hiring of 425 surveillance officers to conduct activities to monitor the status of the vaccinated children.
To curb malnutrition, the government also allotted P118 million for the DOH’s Nutrition Intervention Package for the First 1,000 Days Program.
P88.1 B for 4Ps
The President, meantime, affirmed that the administration puts “premium” on providing benefits to poor families to help them deal with situations that threaten their welfare.
“To achieve this, some P88.1 billion will be provided to support our Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino (4Ps) that will provide cash grants to 4.4 million households,”Duterte said.
Priority will be given to those registered in the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction, victims of disasters rendered homeless and jobless, indigenous peoples, and transitioning household beneficiaries of 4Ps.
Apart from the P3.5-billion feeding program for 1.8 million day-care children, Duterte said
P23.18 B for social pension
P23.18 billion would be used for the social pension of P500 per month for 3.7 million poor senior citizens.
Another P2.77 billion would be given to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) for its Kapit-Bisig Laban saKahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (KALAHI-CIDDS) to empower communities to participate in local government planning and budgeting.
P1.3 B for socialized housing
President Duterte has proposed a P800 million budget for the Social Housing Finance Corporation (SHFC) and another P500 million for the National Home Mortgage Finance Corporation (NHMFC) to sustain government’s socialized housing program under the proposed 2019 national budget.
“Recognizing that decent housing, one of the basic needs for a comfortable life, has remained an elusive dream for a great number of Filipinos, we have made the fulfilment of this aspiration for poor and near-poor households a priority of this Administration,” Duterte said in his budget message to Congress.
For 2019, the President said the SHFC budget would provide partial funding requirement for the High Density Housing Projects phase 2. The project seeks to benefit 3,679 informal settlers residing in danger areas in Metro Manila.
The proposed NHMFC budget, on the other hand, will fund the Socialized Housing Loan Take-out of Receivables program that offers affordable funding mechanism to concerned agencies, non-government organizations, cooperatives, and local government units. These institutions are involved in providing a housing program for their employees, constituents or members, Duterte said.
Apart from decent housing, the President pledged to ensure that access to services such as potable water and electric supply would be efficient and effective.
P1.8B for water projects
He said Local Water Utilities Administration will receive P325 million for its water supply and sanitation program, including the installation of service connections for housing units in resettlement areas.
The government also set aside P1.5 billion to support 384 water supply projects under the Salintubig or Sagana at Ligtas na Tubig para sa Lahat.
P1.7 B for electrification
On the electrification program, Duterte said the Department of Energy will be given P500 million to energize 4,150 households for mini grids and 10,000 households for solar home system.
Another P1.2 billion will also be allocated for the Sitio Electrification Program of the National Electrification Administration to supply power to 775 sitios.