P9-B Bayanihan funds for health infra ‘all accounted for’ — DOH

The Department of Health (DOH) assured on April 9, 2021, that the PHP9 billion fund under the Bayanihan laws for the construction of health infrastructure are all accounted for amid calls for a breakdown of how it spent the funds.

In a statement, the DOH said it will release full expenditure reports to the senators requesting the data as it emphasized that most of the allocation has been used to construct temporary hospitals and isolation facilities as well as to procure essential Covid-19-related medical equipment.

“The DOH assured that every centavo of the questioned funds, as well as all other public funds provided to the Department, are all accounted for and are available for the public to access and examine upon request,” it said.

As of December 2020, the DOH has spent PHP4.36 billion out of the PHP4.49 billion provided under Bayanihan 1 (Bayanihan to Heal as One) to get medical equipment, including mechanical ventilators, biological safety cabinets, laminar flow hoods, and biomedical microcentrifuges.

It also utilized PHP3.88 billion from the PHP4.5 billion Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Bayanihan 2) funds to construct temporary medical isolation and quarantine facilities, field hospitals, dormitories for front-liners and to expand government hospital capacity across the country.

Of the remaining PHP617 million, the DOH said PHP308 million was used to get more essential Covid-19-related equipment such as mechanical ventilators, portable X-ray machines, hemodialysis machines, high flow nasal cannula oxygen machines, and other equipment necessary to increase laboratories’ testing capacities.

The DOH said: “It is, and has always been, committed to upholding utmost integrity and transparency in fulfillment of its mandate to establish and maintain an accessible health system that provides quality health services to every Filipino.”

“The DOH further emphasized that now is not the time to be fragmented in the pandemic response and called for unity from the rest of the government and the public as the country faces an increase in the number of Covid-19 cases,” it added. (Joyce Ann Rocamora, PNA)