DBM: P10B for vaccines already released to DOH in February | Inquirer Business
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DBM: P10B for vaccines already released to DOH in February

By: - Reporter / @bendeveraINQ
/ 06:48 PM March 11, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—A year after the pandemic landed on the country’s shores, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) already released a total of P568 billion to government agencies for programs and projects aiding in the fight against COVID-19, including P10 billion for mass vaccination.

The first batch of vaccines to arrive in the Philippines were 600,000 doses of CoronaVac, which was manufactured by the Chinese firm Sinovac and donated by China. Last March 4 and 7, at least 525,600 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines arrived courtesy of the Covax facility of World Health Organization.

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The latest DBM data on Thursday (March 11) showed that the department released P386.1 billion in agency and realigned funds for the implementation of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, or Bayanihan 1 law, from March to June in 2020.

While awaiting the approval of the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act, or Bayanihan 2 law, the DBM also released P6.6 billion from agency budgets for COVID-19 response between June and September 2020.

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As of Feb. 24, 2021, DBM data showed a total of P172 billion in allotments were released under the Bayanihan 2 law. While it lapsed in December 2020, releases resumed in February as President Rodrigo Duterte extended the law’s validity until middle of the year.

In a text message, Assistant Budget Secretary Rolando Toledo, also DBM spokesperson, said among the recent Bayanihan 2 releases was P10 billion for the national government’s vaccination program.

Toledo said the allocation for COVID-19 vaccine procurement came from Bayanihan 2’s P25.53-billion standby fund. It was released to the Department of Health (DOH) last Feb. 4, and was charged to unused automatic appropriations, Toledo said.

This P10-billion allotment formed part of the government’s P82.5-billion total financing for the nationwide vaccination program.

In the P4.5-trillion 2021 national budget, P2.5 billion had been set aside for vaccine rollout under the DOH budget.

The remaining P70 billion in unprogrammed appropriations will come from loans expected to come from multilateral lenders.

The World Bank’s board was scheduled to approve on Friday (March 12) the additional $500 million financing for COVID-19 emergency response in the Philippines.

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The Manila-based Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Beijing-based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) were expected to also approve another $700 million in loan for the second health system enhancement project to address and limit COVID-19, or HEAL 2.

Before 2020 ended, the ADB and the World Bank realigned $25 million and $30 million from loans they had extended to the Philippines in 2020 which allowed the Philippine government to pay $50 million in advance to six vaccine suppliers last January.

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TAGS: #COVID19PH, Budget, DBM, funds, Health, pandemic, release, vaccines
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