Legarda: Health Facilities Enhancement Program Funded in 2019 Budget

February 18, 2019

Senator Loren Legarda today said that the Department of Health’s (DOH) program to provide quality and affordable health care for Filipinos through the upgrading of health facilities has funding under the 2019 national budget.

Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, said that the Health Facilities Enhancement Program (HFEP) has Php15 billion funding for this year. HFEP is the upgrading of health facilities through investments in infrastructure and medical equipment.

“We restored the budget for HFEP because we recognize the value of this program in improving people’s access to quality health care services. But the DOH should ensure the efficient utilization of funds,” said Legarda.

The HFEP is among the programs of government that has registered low obligation and disbursement rate throughout the years. During the budget hearings last year, it was revealed that from 2008 to 2018, the HFEP had total appropriations worth Php138 billion but as of June 30, 2018, only Php15.5 billion, or around 11% of the total funds, were actually disbursed.

As a result, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) allotted only Php50 million under the 2019 budget intended for the monitoring of previous years’ implementation of HFEP and operations of HFEP Central Office implementation unit.

The HFEP funding was restored in the Senate version of the 2019 budget and was adopted by the bicameral committee.

Aside from the restoration of HFEP budget, Congress also allocated Php4.797 billion to complete the Php7 billion requirement for Human Resource for Health Development and increased allocation for Medical Assistance for Indigent Patients (MAIP) Program.

“We have ensured that the 2019 national budget will cover the health care needs of our citizens, especially the poor and marginalized, not only through the actual provision of assistance but also by improving our hospitals and other health care facilities all throughout the country,” Legarda concluded.