• Slashed budgets of Manila hospitals questioned

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    The minority bloc of the Manila City Council has questioned the reduction of the budget for the purchase of medicines for six city-run hospitals.

    District 3 Councilor Bernie Ang accused the city government of diverting the slashed P360 million to hire casual employees, which he said was a political move that will benefit Mayor Joseph Estrada.

    “It shows that they are planning to get 18,000 new casual employees while at present we only have 12,000 regular and job order personnel,” Ang told reporters.

    According to the Committee on Appropriations report, P59,856,650 was reduced from the submitted budget for the six hospitals.

    Records show that Ospital ng Maynila requested a budget of P125.8 million but only P66 million was approved. Santa Ana Hospital’s budget request of P139.8 million was reduced to P80 million. Justice Jose Abad Santos Hospital asked for P100.8 million but it was cut to P41 million. Gat Andres Memorial Medical Center’s P103.3 million proposed budget was trimmed down to P43.5 million. Ospital ng Sampaloc’s P79.8 million was reduced to P20 million. Ospital ng Tondo was supposed to get P77.1 million but only P17.2 million was approved.

    No one from the majority bloc answered the accusation of the minority group.

    However, a source who asked not to be named denied the allegation of the minority bloc.

    The source said the budget for drugs of the six hospitals was transferred to the Manila Health Department whose proposed budget was only P55 million but was increased to P324.1 million.

    “It seems that the acquisition of drugs and medicines will be coursed through the Manila Health Department which in turn will distribute the medicines to the respective hospitals. Maybe they could get a bigger discount when drugs are purchased in bulk,” the source, himself a department head, told The Manila Times.

    Ang said the budgets of two departments — the Manila Traffic and Parking Bureau (MTPB) and the Manila Tricycle Regulatory Office — were increased from P27.2 million to P228.2 million and from P4.3 million to a staggering P109 million, respectively.

    Estrada sought the resignation of 600 personnel of MTPB in November.

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