PGH budget for next year ‘more than enough,’ says director

·Contributor
·2 min read
The Philippine General Hospital (PGH), the country's official COVID-referral center, is set to incur a P893 million budget cut under the 2023 proposed budget of the Department of Budget and Management. However, its director, Dr. Gerardo Legaspi, told reporters that the budget allocation is
The Philippine General Hospital (PGH), the country's official COVID-referral center, is set to incur a P893 million budget cut under the 2023 proposed budget of the Department of Budget and Management. However, its director, Dr. Gerardo Legaspi, told reporters that the budget allocation is "more than enough." (Photo: UP-Philippine General Hospital/Facebook)

Philippine General Hospital (PGH) Director Dr. Gerardo Legaspi, through the hospital’s spokesperson, Dr. Jonas del Rosario, said that the allocated P5.4 billion budget for PGH under the proposed 2023 budget, although lower than the two previous years, is already “more than enough.”

This statement is contrary to the position of several formations within the university, including some university student organizations and academic unions who are calling for an additional budget to be given to the country’s premier public hospital.

“This is [still] definitely lower than the two previous years, simply because we have not really spent some of the budget that was given to us last year,” del Rosario said in a phone interview with the Inquirer Wednesday (August 31),

“That’s why we were hesitant to ask for more because not all [the money was] spent,” he added.

Del Rosario also clarified that the proposed budget for PGH is P5.9 billion, not P5.4 billion as previously reported.

The University of the Philippines (UP) System, under which PGH falls, was allotted a P23.1 billion budget submitted to Congress last week, lower than the current P25.6 billion budget from the previous fiscal year.

However, del Rosario said that they’re hoping that when Congress starts its budget deliberation, it will restore part of its funds slashed so that the budget of the PGH could also cover “infrastructure development,” which includes plans for the expansion of its facilities.

“We’re confident and we’re hoping that it will be given to us when the budget deliberations happen in Congress,” he said.

On August 29, the All UP Academic Employees Union (AUPAEU) at the University of the Philippines Manila called on the national government to “walk the talk by giving what hospital workers rightfully deserve.”

They also said that the proposed budget cut in the UP-PGH’s budget for 2023 is “a betrayal of our pandemic heroes,” calling it a “callous and cowardly act against both health workers and the Filipino people who the PGH as the national referral center primarily serves.”

Karen Faurillo, president of the All UP Workers Union at UP Manila and PGH, told the Inquirer that, while they respect the PGH director’s opinion, they maintain that the public hospital, and the public as well, will all benefit if it got a bigger budget for next year.

“A P10-billion budget would translate to better health services for patients and help ensure our health workers’ benefits and welfare,” she said.

Marvin Joseph Ang is a news and creative writer who follows developments on politics, democracy, and popular culture. He advocates for a free press and national democracy. Follow him on Twitter at @marvs30ang for the latest news and updates.

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