Health workers to keep jobs under proposed DOH budget – Duque

MANILA, Philippines – Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said that no government health worker would be jobless next year as the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has agreed to restore funds for the health department's human resources deployment program.

“That’s no longer a problem. We can sleep well knowing that has been resolved,” Duque said at the second budget hearing of the Department of Health at the Senate on Tuesday, November 13.

During the Department of Heath budget hearing before the House of Representatives in September, Duque had warned that over 15,000 health workers  stand to lose their jobs if the DBM would insist on reducing funds for the  DOH's Health Human Resources Deployment (HHRD) in 2019. (READ: Job losses seen under lower proposed DOH budget)

The DBM had earlier slashed the proposed HRRD budget for 2019 to just P1.2 billion, from P6.9 billion in 2018. The program takes care of deploying health workers to rural areas and poor communities.

On Tuesday, Duque announced the good news. “I would like to report to the committee that the problem initially present about the huge cut in the HR budget of the DOH – this problem is already solved and the budgetary support has been restored for in fact a bigger number from 26,378 job orders and contract of service workers to about 28,000,” he told senators.

When asked, Duque told Rappler the matter was settled with the DBM last week.

Duque said the "entirety" of about P16 to P17 billion in funding for the 28,000 positions in the HHRD program will be charged against the Miscellaneous Personnel Benefits Fund (MPBF). MPBF is the item in the budget allocating funds for unfilled positions in the executive branch of government.

The health chief said following the resolution of the matter, job orders will be renewed and contracts of services will be extended to 2020. (READ: Government contractuals get 2-year job extension) – Rappler.com

Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs, the overseas Filipino workers, and elections. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.

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