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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

P1.6b in stipends for health workers unfunded — DOH

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The government is yet to fund around P1.6 billion worth of COVID-19 emergency allowance for health workers, Health Secretary Ted Herbosa said Wednesday.

Herbosa disclosed this after House Deputy Minority Leader Marissa Magsino asked how much of the COVID-19 allowance for health workers had been disbursed.

“We requested additional money [for COVID-19 emergency allowance] because the total funding requirement is P63 billion. With P22 billion budget for 2022, P19.4 billion for 2023, and P20 billion for the [proposed] NEP [budget for] 2024, we hope to get some funds from our unprogrammed funds this year,” Herbosa said during the House appropriations panel hearing on the DOH’s proposed P199 billion budget for 2024.

“Last April, the Department of Health wrote the DBM and we are still awaiting their approval of a few billion pesos from the unprogrammed funds of DOH to be used for the [COVID-19] health workers emergency allowance,” Herbosa added.

The unprogrammed fund refers to budget items that will only be funded if there is an excess of target government revenues for the year, subject to the approval of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

Herbosa said that most of the unpaid COVID-19 allowance for health workers involve those who work in private hospitals who take longer to secure documentary requirements compared with their counterparts in the public sector.

“For the government health workers, it is about 93% [who already got their COVID-19 allowance],” he said.

The Health Secretary said of the P22.8 billion budget for the COVID-19 allowance for health workers in 2022, 97.66% of such amount has been disbursed.

The 2023 DOH budget, on the other hand, earmarked P19.48 billion for the COVID-19 allowance for health workers, of which 71.89% has been disbursed so far.

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