Oliver Bugarin 0 0 0 6 min to read

Four specialty hospitals’ budgets won’t be reduced in 2023: DBM

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) announced on Tuesday that the projected 2023 budget for the four specialty hospitals was either increased or left constant.

The DBM released the clarification in response to a recent claim made by House Deputy Speaker Ralph Recto that “deep and nonsuperficial budget cuts” will be made to the National Kidney and Transplant Institute (NKTI), the Philippine Children’s Medical Center (PCMC), the Lung Center of the Philippines (LCP), and the Philippine Heart Center (PHC) for the upcoming fiscal year.

According to a press release from the DBM, the government’s subsidies for the LCP, PHC, NKTI, and PCMC are based on their Quantified Free Service for the fiscal year 2021.

The government places a high value on these specialty hospitals, which have helped many Filipinos, especially the general public, for many years. “First, allow us to emphasize that the government gives high regard to these specialty hospitals, which are plowed back to defray the costs on their charity wards and services,” it said.

The DBM continued, “It is also crucial to note that the proposed finances for the four specialty hospitals were unchanged, if not enhanced, as specified in the National Expenditure Program (NEP) for 2022 and 2023.

Recto stated last week that the proposed budgetary support for LCP had been cut to PHP630.2 million, down PHP53.7 million from PHP684 million this year; PHP1.76 billion for PHC had been cut by PHP121 million from PHP1.88 billion, and PHP1.15 billion for PCMC had been reduced by PHP344 million from PHP1.5 billion.

Recto added that the highest reduction, amounting to PHP362 million, was to the NKTI, which went from PHP1.5 billion in 2022 to PHP1.15 billion in 2023.

The DBM explained that the LCP obtained a PHP225 million boost, pointing out that the specialized hospital was only given PHP404 million under the then-proposed NEP for 2022.

Additionally, it claimed that “upward adjustments made by Congress” were the cause of the alleged drop in the LCP’s budget.

The DBM stated, “The 2022 NEP allotted a total of PHP404 million for the Lung Center of the Philippines, whereas the 2023 NEP allocated PHP630 million, or an increase of PHP225 million. The 2023 allocated budget likewise mirrors Lung Center of the Philippines’ budget proposal of PHP630 million.

The statement continued, and the budget was further increased to PHP683.9 million in the 2022 General Appropriations Act (GAA) due to upward adjustments made by Congress. “The seeming decrease in the budget for Lung Center of the Philippines comes from comparing the actual 2022 General Appropriations Act (GAA) to the 2023 NEP.

According to the DBM, the PCMC would also receive an increase from its proposed allocated fund in NEP for 2022 of about PHP47 million.

According to the statement, “The PHP344 million budget drop noted by Rep. Recto also relates to the Congress-introduced upward revisions included in the 2022 GAA, which allocated PHP1.5 billion for PCMC.”

It also noted that the budgeted expenditure under the 2022 NEP was comparable to the proposed budget for the PHC and the NKTI.

The DBM claimed that Recto’s claim of a PHP121 million budget reduction for PHC stemmed from “a decrease due to the upward adjustments by Congress in the 2022 GAA, including the construction of oxygen generating plant and the procurement of other medical equipment.”

The budget cut of PHP362 million that the NKTI is allegedly going to experience “relates to the congressional modifications made in the 2022 GAA, which include greater aid to destitute patients, purchase of electronic patient beds, and extension of the OPD Building Phase II,” it was claimed.

The DBM also mentioned that it had set aside PHP23 billion for the Health Facilities Enhancement Program, which will finance the construction, rehabilitation, and upgrading of barangay health stations, rural health units, polyclinics, local government units’ hospitals, Department of Health hospitals, and other various health facilities across the country.

The statement read, “During the sequence of budget deliberations and hearings, the DBM bows to the collective judgment of the honorable members of Congress on whether to increase or decrease the projected funds of government agencies.”

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