P4.63B health funds wasted, Binay says
VICE President Jejomar Binay lamented the Aquino administration’s failure to deliver and distribute P4.63 billion worth of medicine and equipment that could have prevented the spread of deadly diseases, such as dengue, malaria, pneumonia, tuberculosis and hepatitis.
“Billions of pesos were wasted. I urge the Department of Health to comply with proper procedures and fast-track delivery of medicines needed,” Binay said, citing a report of the Commission on Audit.
“The delay in the procurement of the medical equipment, medicine and infrastructures defeated the attainment of efficient, low cost but quality health care services to patients,” Binay said, noting that the DoH has also been criticized for letting medicine expire.
Binay noted COA has said “it is imperative for the head of [DoH] to institute measures to safeguard the assets and promote efficiency, effectiveness and economy in achieving the agency mandate.”
The P4,634,058,266.71 budget was allotted for equipment (P626,050,087.49); facilities (P4,003,565,873.62); and drugs and medicines (P4,442,305.60).
“It is time to review the DoH health programs and realign the budget towards preventing diseases,” Binay said.
Binay made the remark after the DoH confirmed that the number of dengue cases in the country surged by more than 23,000 from Aug. 9 to Sept. 5 with outbreaks being reported in Cavite, Bulacan, Ilocos Norte, Apayao, Abra and Mt. Province and Negros Oriental.
“No one is safe; anyone is at risk, regardless of age or economic status. Dengue is a serious disease that has already claimed a number of lives, many of whom are children,” said Binay, whose grandson also recently fell ill with dengue.
“The numbers may continue to rise if our citizens remain passive and let government deal with the problem on its own,” he added.
“Let us all unite in the fight against dengue. Let us do our part by keeping our surroundings clean and dry always, especially this rainy season,” Binay said.
“Let us all help, in every way possible, in disseminating accurate information about dengue—its causes, symptoms and cure. Together, we can achieve dengue-free communities throughout the country,” he added.
He said that there is the need for government to ensure that all Filipinos, even those in far-flung areas, get vaccinations, have access to vitamins, medicine and potable drinking water, and are educated on proper nutrition and sanitation.
“This must be done immediately. Let us go to them and bring to them preventive measures, instead of waiting for an epidemic to hit an area. Let us not be reactive but pro-active. Let us not wait for our Filipino brothers and sisters to end up as statistics as victims of malaria, pneumonia, tuberculosis, hepatitis, among others,” Binay said.
“This is why we need a comprehensive health program for the people which includes nationwide vaccination, sanitation and proper nutrition programs. In line with this, health care services should reach our brothers and sisters in far-flung areas as fast as it reaches Filipinos in urban centers. I believe it can be done. And it must be done,” Binay said.