Ona: No ‘converted funds’ in DOH

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 13 2011 02:36 PM | Updated as of Feb 13 2011 10:36 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Health Secretary Enrique Ona denied reports his department is also in the practice of “converting” allotted funds for other purposes.

To ensure there are no ghost employees or projects, he created an ad hoc panel that will determine the real human resources needs of the health sector.

“The Department of Health does not have ghost employees, ghost projects, intelligence or discretionary funds to convert,” Ona said in a press release.

A Philippine Star source said over the weekend that the fraudulent use of allocated government funds is also a practice in the Department of Health and even the Commission on Audit.

The conversion of funds became a byword following the revelations of a former military budget officer of the widespread corruption in the Armed Forces of the Philippines. For example, funds from personnel services are converted or tapped to create a slush fund.

Ona said "every single peso allotted to and every foreign currency donated to the Health Department properly goes to where it was originally intended, and then properly liquidated and accounted."

For the year 2011, the DoH has a budget of P7.7 billion for personnel services, P15.1 billion for maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE), and P8.9 billion for capital outlay (CO), or a total of P31.8 billion.

The DOH has about 35,000 employees nationwide for 2011.

"To fulfill President Aquino's thrust for every Filipino to have access to universal health care in terms of access to doctors and other health professionals, I have organized an ad-hoc committee currently studying the actual human resource needs of the country's health sector," Ona said.

"The findings and recommendations of the ad-hoc committee will guide the crafting of the 2012 DOH budget up to 2015 and at the same time determine actual number of needed health professionals and health-related personnel in various government health facilities all over the country," Ona added.

"We are committed to ensure that every single Filipino needing health care in public health facilities will be attended to properly by health workers as we take concrete steps to achieve our goal of access to universal health care," Ona stressed.