Proposed PGH budget cut 'unacceptable' - workers' union


Posted at Aug 29 2022 02:25 PM | Updated as of Aug 29 2022 02:42 PM

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MANILA — The workers’ union of the Philippine General Hospital on Monday slammed the proposed budget cut for the hospital in 2023.

ALL UP Workers Union-Manila/PGH president Karen Faurillo described the move as "unacceptable" and "worrying".

"Una sa lahat ang unang maapektuhan po ng budget cut sa PGH ay 'yung serbisyo na ibinibigay namin sa mga pasyente," she said in an ANC interview. 

(The first thing that will be affected by the UP budget cut is the service we give to patients.) 

Based on the government's spending plan, the PGH's proposed funding for next year will be slashed by P890 million to P5.4 billion. Its budget this year is P6.3 billion.

As the country transitions to new normal, Faurillo said the PGH, the country's biggest COVID-19 referral facility, instead needs more funding — or a P10-billion allocation for 2023.

"Nakita natin 'yung pangangailangan talaga na mag-upgrade 'yung PGH (we saw the need for PGH to be upgraded) in terms of facilities, sa human resource," she said.

In a separate statement, the union said an increased budget would regularize more than 300 contractual and job order employees, upgrade Magna Carta benefits, and ensure safety and protection of PGH workers.

"A P10 billion budget would translate to better health services to patients and help ensure our health workers' benefits and welfare," it said.

The group has described the budget slash as "anti-poor" and "anti-health workers".

"The union vowed to opposed and exhaust all means to fight against the budget reduction," the statement reads.

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has proposed a P2.5 billion budget cut for the entire University of the Philippines system, which runs the PGH. 

The DBM said it was "wrong, in a way" to compare the 2023 National Expenditure Program (NEP) plan and this year's national budget. 

The UP budget for 2022 had "upward adjustments" due to "various capital outlay projects for infrastructure projects and purchase of hospital equipment for the Philippine General Hospital, which are one-time or non-recurring expenditures," it said in a statement last week. 

The DBM added that it takes into consideration the budget utilization rate of any government institution prior to budget allocation in the proposed NEP. 

"In our review and evaluation of UP’s budget proposals, we considered its absorptive capacity, which is 66% as of end-2021," the budget department said. 

It added that the education sector would "remain as being the highest budgetary priority of this administration as mandated by the Constitution," with an 8.2 percent increase in the proposed 2023 budget to P852.8 billion.