Former Vice President Jejomar Binay on Monday questioned the decision of the Duterte administration to slash the 2022 budget of Philippine General Hospital as the country continues to struggle to contain COVID-19 cases.
“There is no way the administration can justify its decision to cut the budget of the Philippine General Hospital during a pandemic,” Binay said.
“PGH is the hospital of our poor countrymen, especially during this time of COVID-19 crisis, when many of our countrymen who are sick are brought here. We have already seen the lack of facilities here in PGH, but instead of increasing the budget, it was further reduced,” he added.
In the proposed 2022 budget, PGH was allotted pnly P5.67 billion, lower than its P6.87 billion budget this year.
The hospital’s budget slash was part of the P1.3 billion cut in the budget of the University of the Philippines, of which the PGH is a part of.
Binay said this was reflective of the “disastrous management of the pandemic and misplaced priorities in the 2022 budget.”
“Congress should not only restore the budget of PGH but increase it. This will correct an unforgivable act of neglect not only for the value of academic freedom in a democracy but public health during a disastrous pandemic,” the former vice president said.
The government also slashed the funding for the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, the country’s main COVID-19 testing center, by P170 million.
“We already have many laboratories conducting testing. We started with RITM as the lone testing center but now we are doing 72,000 tests a day,” presidential spokesman Harry Roque said.