MANILA (Sept 14) — As budget hearings in Congress tackle health allocation today, lawmakers are urged to increase the proposed budget for health, which is a mere P1.10 per capita per day, to ensure a satisfactory level of health services for Filipinos.
Under the 2010 national government budget proposal, the health sector is allocated P37.9 billion or only 2.46% of the total proposed budget. Based on an estimated population of 94.01 million for 2010, this means that real per capita spending is just P403 per Filipino for health services.
Real per capita spending on health actually fell by 7.4% from 2009. According to IBON, the low per capita allocation for health is part of a pattern of government’s neglect of the public health sector. In fact, the average budget allocation for health since 2001 under the Arroyo administration is just 1.8% of the total budget– the lowest share for health among the last three administrations (Aquino at 3.1%, Ramos at 2.6%, and Estrada at 2.4%).
The country’s poor, who cannot afford to pay for healthcare and rely on free or subsidized government services, are the most affected by low government spending on health. In fact, budget support for public hospitals such as Tondo Medical Center Rizal Medical Center, East Avenue Medical Center, Quirino Memorial, and Philippine Heart Center, among others have decreased for 2010.
Government’s skewed priorities can be seen in budget allocations for debt servicing, which is given more importance over social services spending: debt service per capita for 2010 (interest and principal payments) is at P7,937 per Filipino or P21.75 per day, while education is at P2,502 or P6.85 per day, and housing at P57 or P0.16 per day. Debt interest payment, which is 22.12% of the total proposed budget, is actually almost ten times more than the allocation for health services. (end)
IBON Foundation, Inc. is an independent development institution established in 1978 that provides research, education, publications, information work and advocacy support on socioeconomic issues.