LUNG Center of the Philippines — LCP.GOV.PH

A CONGRESSMAN on Tuesday said he would push to restore the 2023 budgets of at least four hospitals in the capital region after these were cut. 

The budgetary subsidies for Lung Center of the Philippines, Philippine Heart Center (PHC), National Kidney and Transplant Institute and Philippine Children’s Medical Center will be restored as Congress did in the past, Batangas Rep. Ralph G. Recto said in a statement. 

Lung Center has a proposed budgetary subsidy of P630.2 million for the 2023, 7.87% lower than this year, while the Heart Center’s budget was cut to P1.76 billion from P1.88 billion. 

The Kidney Institute’s budget also fell by 23% to P1.15 billion, while the Children’s Medical Center’s budget was cut by P344 million. 

The four hospitals must be spared the budget cuts because they provide basic services, Mr. Recto said. 

“The Philippine Heart Center is an indispensable national necessity,” he said. “It is a referral hospital,” he added, noting that the Philippine General Hospital and Heart Center are the last resort for someone who needs to vulcanize a vein in the heart. 

President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. in his first state of the nation address to Congress on July 25 said the four hospitals are worthy of replication in regional centers. 

Mr. Recto said the budgeting philosophy of frontline hospitals should be followed and these hospitals must be safe from cuts. 

Party-list Rep. France L. Castro also expressed concern about the budget cuts in crucial programs of the Department of Health (DoH). 

She cited cuts in the budgets for epidemiology and surveillance, health regulation, public health and health emergency management. 

“These programs of the DoH are crucial programs that should be strengthened and should be readily accessible to the public,” she said in a separate statement. 

Meanwhile, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) sought a budget increase for pensions of poor senior citizens, centenarians and the supplementary feeding program. The agency’s proposed budget for 2023 is P197 billion, 3.8% lower than this year. 

DSWD sought P25.77 billion more for senior citizens’ stipends. It also requested P66.20 million more to cover pensions of 662 eligible waitlisted centenarians. 

Nueva Ecija Rep. Rosanna V. Vergara said the agency should choose what to prioritize given limited funding. 

Social Welfare Secretary Erwin T. Tulfo said funding for these pensions should be prioritized. — Kyanna Angela Bulan