MANILA—Removing P35 billion from the Department of Health's 2019 budget may result in job cuts and fewer health services for the public, a lawmaker said Friday.
The department's proposed 2019 budget was reduced to P74 billion after the executive branch decided to slow down the agency's Health Facilities Enhancement Program (HFEP) that seeks to build more hospitals and clinics across the country.
There is a "deep budget cut" for the DOH because the HFEP's budget was reduced to P100 million next year, from its current P30.3 billion budget, House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr. said Saturday.
"One downside of the proposed DOH budget cut is the possible displacement of medical professionals under its health deployment program where doctors, nurses, midwives, dentists are sent to rural areas and urban centers with high poverty incidence," he said.
"Puno ang mga hospital natin. Kulang sa gamot, kulang ang laboratory equipment, kulang ang beds. The health system needs an infusion of funds, not a cutback," he said.
Lawmakers are looking at the possibility of allocating more funds for "fast-moving expenditures" such as medicine and equipment to limit the DOH's budget cut, Andaya said.