MANILA - The Department of Budget and Management will try to allocate funding for the special risk allowance of healthcare workers despite having a "smaller budget" in 2023, Budget Secretary Amenah Pangandaman said on Thursday.
For 2023, only P19 billion was allocated for the health care allowance with another P38 billion in unprogrammed appropriations which can also be tapped, Pangandaman told ANC's Headstart.
But she assured the public that the Budget department will try its best to fund the allowance of health care workers by coordinating with the Department of Finance and the Bureau of Treasury to find more fund sources.
"We have to consider what’s happening right now. While we want to provide funds to everyone, as a result po of the pandemic, so lower revenues po, the increase of our budget for 2023 is only 4.9 percent," Pangandaman said.
"We will try to allocate funding...We tried to increase the budget of all departments as much as we can. The budget provided for us is really, really small," she added.
The DBM said it received a proposal of over P8 trillion. Its proposed budget is only over P5 trillion for 2023.
For 2023, the Department of Health said only P24.4 billion was approved from its proposed P95 billion for COVID-19 response for 2023, lower by over P70 billion.
This year, the DBM on Thursday approved the release of P11.5 billion for One COVID-19 allowance claims that will cover 1.6 million eligible public and private healthcare workers.
Another P1.04 billion was also recently approved to cover the unpaid Special Risk Allowance (SRA) of 55,211 healthcare workers.
"We were able to get it from our miscellaneous benefits fund and program appropriations and contingent funds," Pangandaman said.
However, about P64 billion is needed to pay the allowance of health care workers but the agency is yet to receive a request for that from the DOH.
"As of now po kasi, what we released is the only request we have gotten from the Department of Health. We don’t have the request yet from the DOH yung P64 billion na sinasabi nila," she said.