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DOH: No budget cut for 2017

MANILA, Philippines - Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial yesterday denied reports that the budget of the Department of Health (DOH) for 2017 was being slashed.

In a statement, Ubial said the DOH’s budget is “in fact higher than the budget of the Department of (National) Defense for the first time in Philippine history.” 

She explained that the DOH budget under the 2016 General Appropriations Act (GAA) is P122.63 billion while the proposed budget under the National Expenditure Program (NEP) for 2017 is P90.9 billion. 

“However, the subsidy for Premium Payment of Indigent Family and Senior Citizens was included in the DOH budget in 2016 and this was separated from the proposed DOH budget in the NEP 2017. Thus, if we add the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. budget, the DOH proposed 2017 budget will total to P141.02 billion or an increase of 15 percent actually,” she added.

Ubial also reported during the 6th APEC High Level Meeting of Health Ministers in Lima, Peru on Aug. 21 and 22 that the Duterte Health Agenda is aimed at eliminating disparities in health outcomes, especially among the poor and highly vulnerable populations.

She noted that the overall strategic thrust is bringing together key stakeholders that will work toward improving access to health services and at the same time greatly reducing out-of-pocket costs.

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The health ministers expressed satisfaction and approval for the new health agenda.

Ubial and other health officials are set to continue their official visit in Havana, Cuba from Aug. 23 to 26 to learn about Cuba’s popular health system and have a fruitful exchange of information.

This visit was strongly endorsed by President Duterte, who was impressed with Cuba’s successes in public health. 

The DOH said the World Health Organization (WHO) facilitated the official visit following Duterte’s pronouncements. 

The team is expected to visit health care and training institutions and meet with Cuban officials to discuss health issues of bilateral interest. 

 

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