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DOH still has enough funds for contraceptives, says Legarda

Speaking as the head of the Senate Committee on Finance, Senator Loren Legarda on Tuesday said that the Department of Health (DOH) still has enough funds to purchase contraceptives for its Family Health and Responsible Parenting (FHRP) program.

“The DOH has enough budget to fund for family-planning commodities for this year. The 2016 budget for FHRP was reduced by P1 billion, but the budget for the procurement of contraceptives is not zero. There remains P1.6 billion that can be used for this,” she said in a statement.

Legarda also added that there are other sources for contraceptives such as the overflow of purchases from 2015 as well as the unobligated funds for the FHRP program amounting to P828 million as of December 2015.

“The commodities procured in the last quarter of 2015 will overflow until midyear of 2016. The DOH also has remaining unobligated funds for FHRP last year. Also, historical data shows the DOH is unable to completely spend its budget every year. These unused obligations or savings can be realigned within the agency as long as approved by the President,” she explained.

Unused obligations or savings of DOH-Office of the Secretary (OSEC) was worth P5.46 billion (13.84 percent of its total budget) in 2012; P7.578 billion (16.03 percent) in 2013; and P9.2 billion (16.54 percent) in 2014.

“Following this trend, possible savings of DOH-OSEC for 2015 could be P8.8 billion, which is more than enough to cover the P1 billion decrease,” the senator added.

Legarda also offered to help the DOH.

“As chair of the committee on finance and oversight committee on public expenditures, I can guide the DOH in constructing their work and financial plan for the whole DOH budget and especially the FHRP, to make sure not a single person is denied access to family planning commodities,” she added.

The allocation for the FHRP in the General Appropriations Act for 2016 is P2,275,078,000, down from P3,274,078,000 in 2015.

In a previous statement, Legarda said that some of the funds for FHRP went to the air assets upgrade of the Department National Defense (DND). — Trisha Macas/BM, GMA News