The budget for health was reduced from P398.9 billion in 2010 to P361.1 billion ($8,231,137,451) in 2011. This includes slashing the budget allocations for 55 public hospitals nationwide from P363.7 million ($8,290,403) to P4.8 billion in 2011. The budget of specialty hospitals was also reduced by P970.6 million ($22,124,458).
The budget of twelve major public hospitals, such as Jose Reyes Memorial, Rizal Medical, East Avenue Medical, Quirino Memorial, Tondo Medical, Jose Fabella Memorial, among others, was reduced by P4 million ($91,178) and subsidies for indigents under the National Health Insurance Program would be effectively reduced by P1.67 billion ($380,670,161).
The budget of military hospitals like the AFP Medical Center and Veterans Memorial Medical Center were, however, increased by P923 million ($21,039,434) and P130.7 million ($2,979,256), respectively.
“(The Lower House) deducted budget from legal assistance of OFWs, on health and on education but allows Mrs. Arroyo to walk away with the P2.2 billion (allocation) ($50,148,165) for a single district and the lump sums too,” Colmenares said.
Because of this, Tinio said, they deem the 2011 budget as “pro-privatization.” He also highlighted the fact that next year’s budget gives high priority to debt-servicing. Tinio said the reason for the continuing deterioration of the government’s basic social services is that debt servicing eats up a large chunk of the country’s budget.
“I was amazed with the debt servicing (item) on the GAA (General Appropriations Act) that was passed (on Nov. 8),” Gabriela Rep. Emmi de Jesus said, “During Mrs. Arroyo’s time, we have allotted 340 billion ($7,750,170,959). Under Noynoy, however, we had P30 billion ($683,838,614) more or P370 billion ($8,434,009,573) (in total).”
Military spending also took a large portion of the 2011 budget. The budget for the Department of National Defense has increased from P96.2 billion ($2,192,842,489) to P104.7 billion ($2,386,596,763).The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will also get an additional P10 billion ($227,946,204) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) P6.6 billion ($150,444,495) more.
Gabriela Rep. Emi de Jesus, a neophyte lawmaker, said she is shocked by the long line of Filipinos asking for financial help, especially for health services. If only for that, de Jesus said, she and other progressive party-list representatives should continue to call for the realignment of the budget to favor basic social services.
“What happened yesterday (Nov.8) underscores the need to reform the budget process,” Kabataan Rep. Raymond Palatino said, “The budget process was not democratic.”
Palatino added that the 2011 budget is a “3D” budget, meaning “dole-outs” for the CCT, “debt servicing” and “death squad” for high military spending. (Bulatlat.com)