Bigger Budget for Dole-Out or HIV-AIDS Program?

Manila Bulletin, August 24, 2014 | Go to article overview

Bigger Budget for Dole-Out or HIV-AIDS Program?


Strengthen the dole-out program or improve the delivery of health services, especially the prevention and treatment of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)? Gabriela party-list Rep. Luz Ilagan, who opposes the expansion of the dole-out program, thinks the improvement of health services should get an increase in budget. Lamenting the governments failure to prioritize the health of the people, especially the marginalized, Ilagan proposed that the P2.1-billion increase in the budget for the governments conditional cash transfer (CCT) program should be given instead to the Department of Health (DOH). The CCT program gives cash dole-outs to people who had been identified as marginalized. Under the proposed P2.606-trillion national budget for 2015, the government increased the CCT allocation by three percent from P62.6 billion this year to P64.7 billion next year. PEOPLES HEALTH Peoples health should be prioritized over dole-outs. Our studies and even government surveys show that when the poor have to choose between food and medicines, they choose food. So there must be funds and policy support for the health of the poor. The CCT has not alleviated the plight of the poor. And the fund is borrowed money, she said in an interview. Ilagan said the government should not procrastinate and should step up efforts to address the snowballing cases of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). We have always demanded an increase in the DOH budget not only for AIDS, but also for hospital and other health services. Funds can help a lot in implementing programs and projects. But policies are also key in the success of programs like HIV-AIDS prevention, Ilagan said. GOVT AGREES Meanwhile, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. …

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