Senate boosts COVID-19 vaccine funding, to allocate P18 billion for 2021, says Angara

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 10 2020 08:53 PM

A woman holds a small bottle labeled with a "Vaccine COVID-19" sticker and a medical syringe in this illustration taken April 10, 2020. Dado Ruvic, Reuters/file

MANILA - Senate Committee on Finance chair Sen. Sonny Angara on Tuesday said the Senate would increase funding for the COVID-19 vaccine under the 2021 budget to P18 billion.

The Department of Budget and Management earlier earmarked only P2.5 billion for the purchase of COVID-19 vaccines, while the House allotted an additional P5.5 billion to bring the Philippines' 2021 vaccine fund to P8 billion.

"The Senate put in P10 billion in the unprogrammed fund kasi wala pa namang vaccine, but it may be widely available next year," Angara said in an online press conference.

"'Yung unprogrammed fund, it will be funded if the collection from non-tax revenues exceed the target... and it usually does exceed the target," he said.

Angara said he has no qualms about the executive branch's decision to borrow funds to boost the country's fight against COVID-19.

"'Yung [The] choice on how to fund the vaccine, that's up to the executive branch. Kami we just authorize them to spend," he said.

Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri said other senators would push to further increase the country's vaccine fund when the topic is raised during budget debates in plenary.

"We were hoping that during budget deliberations, we can allocate more funds for vaccine," he said.

"We need some funds inserted into the budget for this," he said.

As of November 10, the Philippines has recorded 399,749 cases. Of these patients, 7,661 died, while 361,919 recovered.

Watch more in iWantTFC