SEN. GUINGONA TO FAST-TRACK
GOVT HEALTH INFRA PROGRAM
Senator Teofisto “TG” Guingona III pushes for the swift implementation of the government’s health infrastructure program funded by the General Appropriations Act (GAA) for 2014 to service the majority of Filipinos.
Sen. Guingona, Chair of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, asked Health Secretary Enrique Ona during Monday’s senate hearing of the 2015 Department of Health (DOH) budget, to explain the slow implementation of its Health Facilities Enhancement Program (HFEP) for 2014, and identify the bottlenecks in the completion of the projects.
During the hearing, Sen. Guingona requested Sec. Ona to identify and document the causes of the delay in HFEP implementation. He also revealed plans to undertake regional public consultations on the issue of HFEP.
Since 2010, the government has been investing in the provision of health infrastructure nationwide through the HFEP. As Chair of the Committee on Health and Demography in the senate, Sen. Guingona approved the largest increase in HFEP, from P8.1 billion in 2013 to P13.54 billion in 2014.
As of September 15, 2014, of the 991 Barangay Health Stations (BHS), only 2 percent were completed. Records from DOH revealed that as of August 30, 2014, only 56 percent of the 2,917 health facilities approved for funding in the 2014 GAA has moved. For Rural Health Stations (RHU), only 45 percent of the allocated amount of P1.76 billion was utilized. For hospitals, only 22 percent of the allocated amount of P2.34 billion was utilized.
Sen. Guingona stressed that the health facilities are expected to provide simple medical and emergency care within the community, including maternal and child health services, the construction/improvement and equipping of BHS are vital for delivery of front line health services as well as for de-clogging tertiary health care facilities which are saddled with patients needing even simple medical services.
The Aquino administration is bent in providing Filipinos access to sufficient healthcare. It can only be achieved if the infrastructure and equipment needed for healthcare programs are delivered on time, said Guingona.
“The infusion of P37 billion for the payment of Philhealth premiums of the indigent in the 2015 proposed budget should be complemented by the improvement of public health facilities to achieve the goal of enhanced service delivery, and better quality of health for the Filipinos, especially of the poor.
For the 2015 proposed budget, the DOH is asking for P13.08 billion for its HFEP program. It seeks to provide for the construction, upgrading, expansion, repair and rehabilitation and purchase of hospital equipment of DOH retained hospitals and other health care facilities, like the Rural Health Units, district/provincial hospitals and barangay health stations. /MP