Lacson pushes downloading of HFEP funds for district hospitals

Lacson pushes downloading of HFEP funds for district hospitals

By Ernie Reyes

MANILA — To ensure that district hospitals get their much-needed
funds, Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson pushed on Tuesday for the devolution of
the budget of the Health Facilities Enhancement Program (HFEP) from
the Department of Health central office.

Lacson said local government unit (LGU) officials he has talked to
have expressed concern that while the district hospitals are located
in their areas, the funds are still lodged with the DOH central
office.

“Bakante or kulang ang facilities or unmanned ang district hospitals,
because DOH sometimes is slow in downloading or procuring equipment
for district hospitals. Hindi nagkaroon ng serbisyong totoo sa
district hospitals (District hospitals are unmanned or do not have
enough facilities because the DOH is sometimes slow in downloading or
procuring equipment for district hospitals. There is no true service
in district hospitals as a result),” Lacson said in interpellating the
2022 budget of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).

He then proposed to ensure that local units can implement and procure
the needed facilities for district hospitals and even provincial
hospitals.

“I think for the 2022 budget, we should itemize and even earmark
already funds for the HFEP and even personnel that will man the
district hospitals. Kulang na kulang ang pondo sa ibang provinces
especially the poorer ones, nakatiwangwang sa district hospitals (For
the 2022 budget, we should itemize and even earmark funds for the HFEP
and even personnel that will man the district hospitals. Funds are
needed especially in the poorer provinces),” he emphasized.

This will allow the local units to implement and procure the needed
facilities for district hospitals and even provincial hospitals,
Lacson said.

Lacson, who has championed the downloading of funds to the LGUs for
their development projects, maintains that this will also address the
situation of the DOH’s unused appropriations growing bigger.

“Ang nangyayari ngayon, ang laki ng unused appropriation sa DOH (What
is happening now is that the DOH has a huge unused appropriation),” he
posited.

Senate local government panel chairman Francis Tolentino shared
Lacson’s stand. “Totally agree,” he said.

Meanwhile, Lacson reiterated his call for the participation of civil
society organizations in the planning of local development projects.

He said some LGUs do not invite CSOs because they deemed them to delay
the preparation of local development plans. He cited records showing
that of 1,452 LGUs, only 87 percent comply with the requirement to
have CSOs participate in preparing local development plans.

“I always emphasize the importance of citizens’ participation. I’m
encouraging that in committee hearings at the national level, there
should be at least observers or resource persons from CSOs. But my
question is, in actual practice, are they really actively
participating?” Lacson asked. (ai/mtvn)

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