The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) wishes to inform the Filipino public that it remains true to its commitment to ensure availability of financial resources to support the operations of the country’s hospitals and medical facilities as we continue to fight against the Coronavirus Diseases 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
Under Republic Act (RA) No. 11469 or Bayanihan to Heal as One Act (Bayanihan 1), the DBM has issued a Special Allotment Release Order (SARO) last May 26, 2020 amounting to P400-million to augment the operational budget of the University of the Philippines – Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH). As of November 17, 2020, obligations made from this release stand at only P176.982-million, leaving an unobligated balance of P223.018-million for use of the UP-PGH.
With regard to the payment of the Special Risk Allowance (SRA) for frontline health workers as authorized under Bayanihan 1, it is clarified that the letter dated November 11, 2020 addressed to the UP President was not a disapproval letter. Instead, the letter affirmed that 1,918 frontline health workers of the UP-PGH are entitled to the SRA under Bayanihan 1 with a total funding requirement of P16.478-million. In the same letter, it was emphasized that the payment of the SRA may be accommodated within available Personnel Services (PS) allotments of the UP System, which stands at P667.553-million based on its June 30, 2020 report and net of estimated requirements until the end of the year.
This action is consistent with Section 4 of Administrative Order (AO) No. 28, which authorized the grant of the SRA, which states that “the amount required for personnel occupying regular, contractual, casual or part-time positions in NGAs shall be charged against their available released PS allotments, while the amount required for COS/JO workers shall be charged against their available released MOOE allotments, without need for prior approval from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), provided that all authorized mandatory expenses shall have been paid first”.
Verily, since the UP-PGH is under the UP System, it has more than enough PS allotments to cover its SRA requirements. Should there be any deficiency in allotments to cover the payment of the SRA under Bayanihan 1, the DBM is committed to release the necessary funds in accordance with AO No. 28 and subject to the submission of usual documents establishing such PS deficiency.
As to the funding requirements for the SRA and the COVID-19 Active Hazard Duty Pay (AHDP) under RA No. 11494 or the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Bayanihan 2), the DBM has already released the necessary funding to the Department of Health (DOH), which will manage the release and payment to the corresponding hospitals and medical facilities including the UP-PGH as early as October 27, 2020. DBM-DOH Joint Circulars No. 1 and 2 were issued last November 25, 2020, providing the guidelines on the grant of the COVID-19 AHDP and SRA, respectively, consistent with Administrative Order Nos. 35 and 36 issued by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte last November 16, 2020.
The DBM wishes to clarify that the amount of P865.506-million under the UP-PGH Budget is classified under the ‘For Later Release’ part of the FY 2020 General Appropriations Act and the DBM has recommended for its release to the Office of the President (OP) through a Memorandum dated June 11, 2020.
On November 26, 2020, the DBM received a copy of the OP Approval dated November 25, 2020, which will be the basis for the immediate preparation of the SARO for the purpose. The said SARO, with a total amount of P1,243,906,000.00, will be released to the UP-PGH through the UP System for the continuous provision of medical services and the acquisition of additional medical equipment.
The DBM renews its commitment to give preferential consideration on requests related to the country’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic including the requirements of our health facilities and healthcare workers, subject to existing laws, rules and regulations.