Specialty hospitals retain proposed 2024 budget - DBM

By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos

September 8, 2023, 3:02 pm

<p><span class="s2">National Kidney and Transplant Institute</span> <em>(File photo)</em></p>

National Kidney and Transplant Institute (File photo)

MANILA – The 2024 budget for the four specialty hospitals operated by the Department of Health (DOH) was “similar” to their proposed funding, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said Friday.

The DBM issued the clarification following reports that the Lung Center of the Philippines (LCP), the National Kidney and Transplant Institute (NKTI), the Philippine Heart Center (PHC), and the Philippine Children’s Medical Center (PCMC) are facing budget cuts in 2024.

In a statement, the DBM said LCP, NKTI and PHC “were allocated a budget that is similar to what they proposed” while the PCMC is the only specialty hospital with a lower budget for next year.

“The Department of Budget and Management seeks to shed light on concerns raised about the budget adjustments of four specialty hospitals under the PHP5.768 trillion proposed national budget for 2024,” it said.

“It is likewise important to note that the specialty hospital’s proposed funds for next year were similar to what the DBM included in the National Expenditure Program (NEP) for 2024, except for the PCMC,” the DBM added.

The DBM noted that under the 2024 NEP, PHP561.1 million would be given to the LCP, PHP1.243 billion to the NKTI and PHP1.821 billion to the PHC.

It said the proposed fund for PCMC is pegged at PHP1.366 billion, lower compared to the agency’s PHP1.393 billion proposal “because of its ICT (information and communications technology)-related proposal with incomplete documentation.”

The PCMC failed to submit the Information Systems Strategic Plan to the Department of Information and Communications Technology, according to the DBM.

“The Department wishes to emphasize that the government gives high regard to specialty hospitals,” the DBM said, noting that the four institutions “have been proven beneficial to many Filipinos” for many decades.

The DBM said it would let Congress decide on whether to increase or decrease the proposed funds of government agencies.

Last year, the DBM issued a similar clarification after House Deputy Speaker Ralph Recto claimed that the four specialty hospitals faced “deep and non-superficial budget cuts” under the 2023 NEP.

Refuting Recto’s claim, the DBM said the then-proposed 2023 budget for the four specialty hospitals was either raised or unchanged.

Under the 2023 General Appropriations Act, PHP835.2 million was allocated to the LCP, PHP1.7 billion to the NKTI, and PHP2.1 billion each to the PHC and PCMC. (PNA)