DOH seeks P2-B coronavirus fund as medical supplies deplete globally

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 04 2020 10:54 AM | Updated as of Mar 04 2020 11:09 AM

The Ospital ng Paranaque sets up a coronavirus disease holding area on February 05, 2020. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The Department of Health is seeking some P2 billion funds in preventing the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as medical supplies are rapidly depleting globally, its chief said Wednesday.

President Rodrigo Duterte has given his consent for the proposed supplemental budget but it still needs the approval of Congress, Health Secretary Francisco Duque said. 

At least 2 lawmakers have filed measures for an additional P2 billion budget for the DOH.

The agency, in the meantime, can use some P530 million allotted for medical equipment by the Department of Budget and Management, Duque added.

"Nagkakaroon ng worldwide shortage, syempre inuuna nila (supplier) ngayon kung saan may local transmission," he told radio DZMM.

(There's a shortage worldwide, of course they are prioritizing those that have local transmission of the virus.)

"Pero sabi ko kailangan araw-arawan pukpukin natin ang supplier. Kailangan ang demand natin mapagbigyan."

(But I said we need to follow up to the suppliers everyday. Our demands have to be met.)

Watch more in iWantTFC

The agency is waiting for the delivery of some P95 million worth of personal protective equipment for its health workers, Duque said.

"This is the time to do all massive preparation dahil wala pang mga pasyente (because there are no patients yet)," he said.

The country has so far recorded 3 cases of the virus, all of whom were travelers from Wuhan, China, where the outbreak originated. Of this figure, 2 have recovered and returned to their nation, while 1 died.

The Philippines has yet to report a local transmission of the virus, which Duque attributed to the country's early response.