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DBM: Health sector remains priority for 2021

Joshua Lao

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As the government continues its battle against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said that improving the country’s health sector remains the top priority in terms of budget allocation for 2021.

“The DBM has just finalized conducting our executive review of the budget for fiscal year 2021, so the priority of the government moving forward, one is the focus on health sector,” DBM Assistant Secretary Rolando Toledo said during the pre-State of the Nation Address virtual forum on Wednesday.

“This includes establishing more health facilities, purchasing necessary hospital equipment, test kits and COVID-19 vaccine,” he added.

Still, the Budget executive said that ensuring the “efficient deployment” of health personnel to address COVID-19 and other infectious diseases along with the implementation of the Universal Health Care Law was included in their budget priorities.

Food security also ranked among the agency’s budget priorities for 2021 as such is and will always be the basic need of the public, especially during the pandemic.

“This is to ensure unhampered movement of agricultural goods and services through efficient transport and logistics systems and also to intensify provision of farm machineries and equipment to farmers,” Toledo said.

Budget for infrastructure development likewise will be prioritized by the DBM, Toledo said as he noted that it will focus on health-related facilities, digital infrastructure and the enhancement and construction of roads and highways in the country.

Toledo added that industry and livelihood programs were also considered in the 2021 budget through the implementation of funding assistance programs for micro, small and medium scale enterprises.

He also stressed that programs for the education sector will still be pursued, which includes the so-called blended learning plan of the Department of Education.

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