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1.67B still intended for contraceptives – Legarda

January 11, 2016

MANILA – Sen. Loren Legarda clarified that the Department of Health (DOH) will still have an appropriation of P1.67 billlion intended for contraceptive purchases.

Earlier, Sec. Janette Garin revealed that the bicameral conference committee slashed P1 billion from DOH’s Family Health and Responsible Parenting (FHRP) program.

“A cut in the budget does not mean less support for a program. We also see the need to increase funds of other agencies for equally important programs,” said Legarda, who is also chairperson of the Senate finance panel.

Legarda said P1 billion cut will be realigned to the Department of National Defense and Department of Education.

She said DOH’s status of funds last year was a factor for the budget cut.
“As of June 2015, of the P3.27 Billion allocation for FHRP, only P955 million had been obligated or 29 percent. For the remaining six months, P2.3 Billion or 71 percent has yet to be obligated,” she explained.

According to Legarda, the unused budget in 2015 may still be tapped in 2016.
“We reduce the budget of some programs to allow for the improvement of other programs. That is why we have to go through this cycle of budget deliberations every year.”

Legarda also stressed that senators were informed about the cut in the DOH budget since “(they) were given a copy of the (bicam) committee report before they voted to ratify.”

This was contrary to Sen. Pia Cayeyano’s, principle sponsor of the Reproductive Health Law, statement expressing “shock” over the cut in the allocation.

“At every stage of the 2016 budget process, I had asked for details. This was work in progress and the detailed amendments were not readily available,” Cayetano said.

Source: Panay News Philippines