By Hannah Torregoza
Reelectionist Senator Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito on Tuesday said the signing of the 2019 national budget into law would now pave the way for more funds to spend for Filipinos’ healthcare needs.
Ejercito, chair of the Senate committee on health and demography, said he was glad that funds allocated for the improvement of health services will now be readily available for implementation.
“In particular, I am glad that the money can now be spent for our people’s health care, including the P7-billion Human Resources for Health (HRH) program of the Department of Health (DoH) which I fought for during budget deliberations,” Ejercito said.
Ejercito had earlier sought the restoration of P30-billion for the DOH’s Health Facilities Enhancement Program (HFEP) in the proposed P3.757-trillion national budget for this year.
The senator earlier described the initial zero-funding for the HFEP as “anti-poor and a great disservice to the people.”
With the unfortunate impasse between the Senate and House on the budget now over, Ejercito said the government can now move swiftly to implement critical development projects.
“Once again, President Rodrigo Duterte has demonstrated his unflinching dedication to protect the people’s money,” the lawmaker said.
“I welcome his decision to sign the budget and more importantly veto unconstitutional realignments,” he also said.
“This is a victory, not for the Senate, but for fiscal responsibility and public welfare,” he emphasized.
Ejercito further commended Senate President Vicente Sotto III for working hard to fight for the Senate’s version of the budget bill and ensuring a “pork-free” appropriations law.
“I commend our Senate President Vicente Sotto III, Senator Panfilo Lacson and all the members of the Senate for their steadfastness and tenacity in upholding the Constitution,” Ejercito said.