SENATE finance committee chair Sen. Juan Edgardo Angara yesterday bared plans to increase the budget for immunization programs following the outbreak of the preventable measles and the reemergence of the long-eradicated polio.
In a statement, Angara lamented that the government only proposed a P7.54 billion budget for the national immunization program for 2020.
He suggested that a P650 million allocation for advertising be rechanneled to the immunization program, among other items within the proposed P159.2 billion total budget for the Department of Health.
Although the DOH had reeled from a 5-percent cut from the current budget of P169.45 billion, Angara said he was not keen on increasing it right away without tweaking the items under that budget first.
“Hindi nangangahulugan na dagdag-pondo kaagad. Baka pwede, lipat-pondo within the budget of DOH (This does not mean a budget hike right away. Maybe, we can divert funds within the budget of DOH),” Angara said.
“Sinasabi na nasa P650 million ang advertising budget nila. Baka pwedeng i-rechannel ito sa mga programa na in support of the vaccination drive (They say their advertising budget is at P650 million),” he added.
The DOH budget has been approved at the committee level. Amendments could still be made in the plenary when the Senate resumes its session in November.