Health services prioritized in San Juan's P2.55-B budget for 2020

MANILA, Philippines – San Juan City will get a budget of P2.55 billion for 2020, with P140 million going to the city’s health department. 

This is the first budget passed by the city council under the new mayor Francis Zamora. It was formally signed on Monday, December 16.

Of the P2.55 billion, over P1.09 billion or roughly 43% will go to social services. 

Of this allocation, the priority is health, with P369.9 million going to the San Juan Medical Center, the city’s public hospital. This is around P100 million more than the 2019 budget. (READ: From the air bases to Greenhills: Ex-military doctor heads San Juan public hospital) 

Zamora had said in his October State of the City Address that his administration had been facing a problem with the public hospital. 

The previous administration had left the hospital’s P500-million renovation project unfinished. It stands now at 60%, according to Zamora, but the contractor insists it is already 85% complete.

Aside from the unfinished renovation, P137 million worth of unopened and untested medical equipment also sit in the hospital's storage area. He has since appointed a new hospital director to lead reforms in the medical center.

San Juan’s Local School Board also got a budget increase, with a total allocation of over P237 million from around P180 million in 2019. According to Zamora, “several special programs [have been] earmarked” for underprivileged students. 

Below is the breakdown of San Juan City’s 2020 budget by sector:

One of Zamora's campaign promises was to make San Juan a smart city. According to the San Juan public information office, the city government is partnering with companies like Globe, Smart, and MultiSys, and government agencies like the Department of Information and Communications Technology to fund the Smart City initiative. 

It added that "minimal costs...to be shelled out will be coming from the budget of the infrastructure or institutional clusters."

Zamora won as San Juan mayor in May, ending the 50-year rule of the Ejercito-Estrada clan in Metro Manila's smallest city. After assuming the post, he promised to rid San Juan of the culture his predecessors left behind. He was left with a lot to clean up after.

He signed Executive Order (EO) No. 1 during his first week in office after uncovering documents showing questionable transactions done by the previous administration.

With the EO, Zamora wanted to institutionalize a pre-audit system in all transactions of city departments. (READ: IN NUMBERS: Francis Zamora's first 100 days as San Juan mayor) – Rappler.com