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Cayetano: DBM has assured House it will augment nCov funds once depleted

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House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano said on Friday he has received assurances from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) that it would augment funds for containing the spread of the novel coronavirus (nCOV).

The Taguig-Pateros representative said he had a luncheon meeting on Tuesday with DBM Secretary Wendel Avisado who “assured me that when the nCOV funds are used up, he will augment them.”

Cayetano said the Department of Health (DOH) should first use all available funds to contain nCOV and to isolate and treat infected persons.

“That is also the advice I gave governors and mayors in areas affected by calamity. Use your funds because we can augment them. The important thing is we provide our affected people with what they need,” Cayetano added.

Representatives Angelina Tan of Quezon, who chairs the House committee on health, and Joey Salceda of Albay, who heads the ways and means committee, have filed separate bills seeking an additional P2-billion nCOV-related budget.

Prior to that, House members from Batangas authored a bill proposing P30 billion in supplemental funding for communities affected by the eruption of Taal volcano.

“We are more than ready to act on these proposals,” Cayetano said.

The Speaker also said he would try to work out a “balance” between the need for Cabinet members to attend House hearings and their duty to do their job and attend to their agencies’ concerns.

He made the promise after Health Secretary Francisco Duque lll failed to attend the hearing of the committee on Metro Manila development on nCOV on Wednesday because he had to inspect a proposed isolation center in a military camp in Nueva Ecija for persons infected by the virus.

Some congressmen expressed dismay over the DOH chief’s absence.