Sen. Joseph Victor ‘JV’ Ejercito (wearing black) has vowed to fight for the approval of the proposed budget of the health department following the move of the national government to cut from P109.8 billion this year to P7.1 billion in 2019. Ejercito made this assertion during his visit to the Northern Mindanao Medical Center on Thursday. (Jigger J. Jerusalem/

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – Reducing the budget of the Department of Health (DOH) next year would be a disservice to the Filipino people since it would impact the funding of state-run hospitals , a lawmaker said.

Sen. Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito said he would fight for the restoration of the DOH budget so that the health services will be sustained.

Ejercito, who was here to visit the DOH-managed Northern Mindanao Medical Center (NMMC) on Thursday, said he would do his best to have the proposed health budget be approved.

Ejercito, the Senate health committee chairman, said he was against the slashing of the proposed DOH budget from P109.8 billion this year to P74.1 billion in 2019.

If the budget cut pushes through, he said, it would mean that there will be lesser funds for the construction and upgrading of public hospitals and clinics under the DOH’s Health Facilities Enhancement Program.

One of the medical institutions that will suffer once the budget is slashed is the NMMC, which is undergoing renovations at present. Construction of additional buildings is also ongoing.

Dr. Jose Chan, NMMC chief of hospital, has expressed his apprehension that all of the projects at NMMC might be delayed if the proposed DOH budget will not be approved.

To be affected in the budget reduction is the NMMC’s eight-story building that will house the new emergency room, intensive care unit, and other departments.

Ejercito said it would be a disadvantage of the people who depend on the NMMC for their medical needs if NMMC’s new facilities aren’t finished on time.

During the budget deliberation in the Senate in September, Department of Budget and Management director Jane Abella said the DOH’s underutilization of its budget was the reason why the agency decided to reduce it.

Ejercito said health services must remain as one of the priorities of the national government, adding that they can reduce the budget of the departments but not the DOH’s. (

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