Press Release
August 2, 2015

DoH budget up 41% to P124 B in '16; to spend P27 B for clinic, hospital upgrade

The Health department budget will jump from P87.8 billion this year to P124.2 billion next year, an impressive 41 percent hike never before seen in history.

"Call it a booster shot or a massive fund transfusion, but percentage-wise, this one breaks the record," Sen. Ralph Recto said.

"The bottomline is this : The Department of Health (DOH) will be spending P100 million more per day in 2016 than what it is spending daily this year," Recto said in analyzing the planned health expenditures.

The P36.5 billion hike, Recto said, would allow the DoH "to field more doctors to the barrios, improve health facilities, buy more medicine, provide health insurance to all senior citizens, among others."

Recto said the DoH will be hiring 21,118 health professionals at a cost of P7.1 billion in first year salaries alone. The amount is P2.8 billion higher than the current year's.

A DoH document said the agency is planning to hire and deploy 1,192 rural doctors - from 398 this year - plus 15, 000 nurses and 3,000 midwives in 2016.

Recto said government is "more than doubling" the budget for the improvement of barangay health stations (BHS), town and city health centers, and hospitals, from the current P13.1 billion to P27 billion.

Called the Health Facilities Enhancement Program (HFEP), a partial listing of the 11,240 projects it seeks to fund "takes up 104 pages of small print in the national budget bill," Recto said.

P7.7 billion of HFEP's P27 billion outlay is earmarked for the acquisition of new hospital equipment.

"But bulk of HFEP budget will trickle down to barangays," Recto said, noting that "P15.6 billion is programmed for the improvement of BHSs."

Also up for increase is the allocation for "drugs, medicine and vaccines," from P7.8 billion to P10 billion.

Included in this outlay is the amount required "to immunize 2.63 million children," Recto said.

He explained that a special provision in the proposed 2016 national budget requires that 80 percent of drugs and pharmaceutical preparations bought will be sent to provinces where there is high poverty incidence.

But the biggest chunk in the proposed DoH budget will be to pay for the PhilHealth insurance of 15.4 million indigent families and 2.8 million senior citizens, Recto said.

Costing P43.9 billion, P37 billion will be used to settle premium payments of poor enrollees while P6.8 will cover the membership of those 60 years old and above.

A law authored by Recto places all senior citizens under mandatory PhilHealth coverage.

Under Republic Act 10645, seniors get automatic PhilHealth cover, "and can receive benefits by just presenting a valid ID that proves their real age," Recto said.

In his Budget Message for fiscal year 2016, President Aquino said the total health sector budget - to include DoH spending, subsidies to medical centers, operational budget of military hospitals, among many - will increase by 38 percent to P132.7 billion.

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