Representative Elizaldy Co Leads Charge to Ensure Effective and Efficient Use of Public Funds in DOH

The House of Representatives Appropriations Committee, led by its chairperson Representative Elizaldy Co of Ako Bicol Party List, has commenced its oversight inquiries on the budget performance of national government agencies, starting with the Department of Health (DOH). The committee made sure that the budget allocated under the General Appropriations Act (GAA) was utilized and disbursed correctly, promptly, effectively, and efficiently.

“We want to make sure that the DOH is delivering the services that our people need, and that every peso of the people’s money is being spent wisely. We owe it to our constituents to ensure that they are getting the healthcare services that they deserve,” Rep. Co said.

During the hearing, Rep. Co reminded the officials from the Department of Health about the Bayanihan Act, which stipulates that Antigen Test and other Covid-related materials should be accessible up to the barangay level. He emphasized the importance of providing access to Antigen Test kits, particularly now that the number of Covid positive cases is increasing again.

“Antigen test kits should be accessible up to the barangay level as per Bayanihan Act. We should not make it difficult for the people to have access to these test kits, especially now that we are seeing an increase in Covid cases,” Rep. Co said.

Based on the Fiscal Year 2022 compliance audit of the Commission on Audit, the DOH faced issues regarding fund use, such as deficiencies in the procurement process and timelines, lapses of unutilized allotments, and low utilization. Additionally, there were issues in the distribution and use of Covid-19-related items, payment of Covid-19 benefits and allowances, and implementation of the health facilities enhancement program (HFEP).

The Committee also inquired why the DOH had failed to fill up almost 20,000 vacant positions despite having allocated a budget for these positions. Rep. Co pointed out that filling these positions would enable the DOH to provide better service to the public.

“The DOH has already been allocated a budget for these vacant positions, and it is imperative that they be filled immediately to help address the ongoing health crisis,” Rep. Co said.

The House of Representatives Appropriations Committee’s oversight inquiries into the budget performance of national government agencies, starting with the Department of Health, reflects the government’s commitment to ensuring that public funds are utilized effectively and efficiently. As the country continues to grapple with the ongoing health crisis, it is imperative that public services, particularly healthcare services, are readily accessible to all Filipinos. The Committee will continue to monitor and enforce compliance with the requirements for utilizing public funds to guarantee that the needs of the Filipino people are being addressed.


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