Malacañang on Thursday urged lawmakers to "confer" with the Executive branch on sourcing funds for the potential vaccine against COVID-19.
Around P5.5 billion in funds were realigned in next year's spending plan to bankroll the vaccine procurement, a House leader said Tuesday, following criticism that the initial P2.5 billion was insufficient. This brings the total vaccine allocation to P8 billion.
"The power of purse is vested in Congress. We will bow to the wisdom of Congress should they deem it fit to increase the budget for the vaccine, and of course, may pagkukuhanan po iyan ‘no (we have sources for that)," said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.
"So we hope that Congress will at least confer with the Executive kung saan nila kukunin iyong pondo para itaas ang budget for the vaccine (about where they will get the funds to increase the vaccine budget)," he told reporters.
President Rodrigo Duterte aims to sign the budget before the second week of December, said Roque. If the 2021 budget is not approved before Dec. 31, the government will rely on a reenacted budget that lacks funds for all pandemic-related programs.