Almost 20 percent of the proposed P4.5-trillion national budget for 2021 would go to projects related to coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said.
Budget and Management Secretary Wendel Avisado said next year’s allocation for Covid 19 programs could amount to around P838.35 billion.
The budget is not solely for the Department of Health (DOH) but will be allocated across the various government agencies, Avisado said. He said agencies like the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) have been tasked to have their own programs that will help address the pandemic to lessen the burden of the DOH.
Among the Covid-19-related programs that will be funded by next year’s budget are the health insurance premiums for at least 13 million indigent families and seven million senior citizens, P71.35 billion; medical assistance for indigent patients, P17.31 billion; and hiring and deployment of about 26,035 doctors, nurses and other health care workers, P16.58 billion.
Also, P51.56 million has been allocated for disease surveillance and monitoring of Covid-19 and other respiratory infections; P2.7 billion for the acquisition of more than two million sets of personal protective equipment (PPE) for hospitals, laboratories and regional swab centers; P1.03 billion for the acquisition of reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) cartridges for fast and accurate testing of Covid-19 cases; P2.5 billion for the procurement of Covid-19 vaccines; P11.6 billion for health facilities enhancement program and purchase of medical equipment and medical-related motor vehicles like an ambulance.
Some P283 million has been allocated for the establishment of the Virology Science and Technology Institute of the Philippines, and P66 million for the country’s participation in the International Solidarity Clinical Trial for Covid-19 Vaccine to be launched by the World Health Organization (WHO).