Why use savings for Dengvaxia program? Aquino explains

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 14 2017 04:10 PM

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President Benigno Aquino III explained Thursday why his administration's P3.5 billion vaccination program was funded by savings, and not under the national budget. 

Vaccine Dengvaxia, he said, had yet to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2015 so it cannot be considered "legally existing" and included in the proposed 2016 national budget. 

The government then realigned savings from the miscellaneous personnel fund to buy vaccines for 1 million public school students on the assumption that Dengvaxia would soon get FDA approval, Aquino said. 

He admitted that funds could have been drawn from the supplemental budget, but this would require new sources of revenue to be approved by Congress, which was "very, very difficult." 

If the government used the supplemental budget instead of the savings, the first implementation of the immunization program will be in 2017 because "it will for the new budget cycle, which will be under the new administration," he said. 

"Assuming that there is a learning curve in the new administration, there is no guarantee that it will happen in the 2017 year," Aquino added. 

DZMM, 14 December 2017