By Cip D.C. Cabrera
MALACAÑANG PALACE, Manila — Based on the subsidies to be given by the government to four specialty hospitals for their 2021 Quantified Free Service, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has allocated a total of P4.93 billion under the P5.268 trillion proposed national budget for 2023.
However, following concerns raised by members of the House of Representatives over the budget adjustments of the said hospital, DBM secretary Amenah Pangandaman clarified that the increases are the government’s way of recognizing the important role of these specialty hospitals to the public.
The specialty hospitals mentioned include the Lung Center of the Philippines, the Philippine Heart Center, the National Kidney and Transplant Institute, and the Philippine Children’s Medical Center.
“First, allow us to emphasize that the government gives high regard to these specialty hospitals, which for many decades have been proven beneficial to many Filipinos, particularly the general public.
Whatever money is derived by these hospitals from their paying patients are plowed back to defray the expenses on their charity wards and services,” Pangandaman pointed out.
The budget chief also enthused that it is important to note that the proposed funds for the four specialty hospitals, as provided both in the National Expenditure Program (NEP) for 2022 and 2023, were actually unchanged, if not, increased.
To expound on this, she said that those concerned about the budget adjustments should look into the comparative data stipulated in the 2022 and 2023 NEP for the specific hospitals.
For the Lung Center of the Philippines, 2022 NEP allocated a total of P404 Million, while 2023 NEP allocated P630 Million or an increase of P225 Million. The 2023 allocated budget also reflects Lung Center of the Philippines’ budget proposal of P630 million.
“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. In 2022 GAA, the allocated budget was further increased to P683.9 million due to upward adjustments made by Congress,” Pangandaman explained.
As for the Philippine Heart Center, the allocated budget under the NEP 2022 and 2023 remains the same at P1.8 billion.
“The P121 million fund that (Batangas District VI) representative (Ralph) Recto pointed out comes from the decrease pertaining to the upward adjustments by Congress in the 2022 GAA, including the construction of oxygen generating plant and purchase of various medical equipment,” the budget secretary said.
With regards to the National Kidney and Transplant Institute (NKTI), the proposed budget for 2023 is the same allocated budget of P1.3 billion that was given under the 2022 NEP.
“The seeming decrease amounting to P362 million pertains to the congressional adjustments made in the 2022 GAA, which include additional assistance to indigent patients, procurement of electric patient beds, and expansion of the OPD Building Phase II,” Pangandaman further clarified.
Finally, for the Philippine Children’s Medical Center (PCMC), the NEP 2023 provides an increase of P47 million from its proposed allocated fund of P1.1 billion in NEP 2022.
The P344 million budget decrease raised by Rep. Recto likewise pertains to the Congress-introduced upward adjustments included in the 2022 GAA, which allotted P1.5 billion for PCMC.
“Allow us to state (further) that the DBM has allotted P23 Billion for the Health Facilities Enhancement Program (HFEP), which will fund the purchase of medical equipment as well as the construction, rehabilitation, and upgrading of barangay health stations, rural health units, polyclinics, LGU hospitals, DOH hospital, and other various health facilities nationwide,” Pangandaman also explained. (ai/mtvn)
Under the proposed 2023 GAA, the Philippine Heart Center in Diliman, Quezon City is set to receive a budget of P1.8 billion. (Photo from GOV JOBS PH)