Health among top 3 Baguio expenses in P2.3-B 2022 budget

The city government has earmarked over PHP273 million of the PHP2.3-billion budget for 2022 for the operation of the Health Services Office.

In a phone interview on Thursday, chief city information officer Aileen Refuerzo said the General Services Office that handles the city’s garbage was allotted PHP383.3 million, while PHP273 million was for the development fund.

Topping the city government’s budget are personnel services which were allotted PHP920.07 million, and PHP923.47 for maintenance and other operating expenses.

The city’s approved annual budget also incorporates the fund needed for the implementation of the devolved functions on account of the Mandanas-Garcia ruling of the Supreme Court.

Refuerzo said the approved budget will be funded from the PHP802-million local sources and the PHP1.48 billion from external sources.

Aside from the city’s Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) share, it also receives a share from the operation of the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA)-Baguio, and from the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.

Two major internal companies –Texas Instruments and Moog Controls– are located in PEZA Baguio in Loakan. Texas Instruments manufactures microchips for electronic gadgets, while Moog Controls manufactures airplane parts.

The city government also provides subsidies to some national government agencies like the Philippine National Police, Bureau of Fire Protection, male and female jail under the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, Prosecutor’s Office, Regional and Municipal Trial Courts, Commission on Audit, and the Department of Education City Schools Division.

Resilience during pandemic

Refuerzo said the approved budget is also geared towards resilient recovery from the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

She said several development projects lined up by the city were not done but assured that the health and wellness of the residents were prioritized by accelerating the Covid-19 responses that saved lives and kept the economic losses manageable.

In support of the national government’s Prevention, Detection, Isolation, Treatment, and Reintegration (PDITR) strategy, the city earmarked PHP75.9 million.

Of the total amount, PHP24.9 million is sourced from the 5-percent disaster risk reduction and management fund for Covid-19 response preparations, including but not limited to, the continuous procurement of medical supplies and equipment, emergency medical and contact tracing operations, maintenance of isolation and triage facilities, and emergency hiring of health personnel.

As the pilot integration site for universal health care reinforced by the devolution on account of the Mandanas-Garcia ruling, the city has allocated funds for the first phase of its implementation piloting two health care institutions for accreditation, Irisan health center, and Aurora Hill health center.

Some PHP2 million has been earmarked for the establishment of the city’s special health fund in addition to funds for the procurement of medical supplies and equipment.

The Mandanas-Garcia ruling states that the just share of local government units (LGUs) from national taxes is not limited to national internal revenue taxes collected by the Bureau of Internal Revenue but also includes collections by the Bureau of Customs.

She said the disaster risk reduction and management fund will be utilized to cover the four thematic areas of disaster prevention and mitigation, disaster preparedness, disaster response, disaster rehabilitation, and recovery.

DRRM and climate change are mainstreamed and integrated with the city’s local development policies, plans, and budget as a way of increasing the resiliency of the infrastructure system and towards sustainable development.

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