Cebu City Council slashes funds for Covid-19 preparation
CEBU CITY, Philipines — Cebu City’s funds to combat the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19) was slashed from the proposed P28 million to a mere P15 million.
This after Vice Mayor Michael Rama and some council members questioned the P28 million emergency funds supposedly for the procurement of medicine, monitoring equipment, and personal protective equipment (PPEs) for the City Health Department (CHD) and the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO).
Councilor Nestor Archival questioned why the training of people was included in the emergency when this is not an “urgent” matter.
For Councilor David Tumulak, the proponent of the P28 million budget, the trainings were necessary as new equipment would mean training individuals to use them.
Rama said that in order to fastrack the approval of the budget, instead of P28 million, the council would give the CHD only P15 million to purchase immediately the machines and PPES including face masks and health suits.
The medicines alone would cost the city P2.8 million while medical gowns would cost P2.4 million. Surgical masks would cost at least P1 million.
If the CHD needs more budget, they can ask for an additional budget in the next sessions of the Council.
“Since this is urgent, we will give you P15 million because that is what you need now. If you need more, just ask and we will give it to you,” said Rama.
Tumulak admits he was disappointed by the decision of the council to slash the budget because it would mean that the CHD would ask for more budget in the future, further delaying the crucial needs of the city to prepare against the Covid-19.
“I pity our responders, I pity our people for their safety. On these difficult times, our responders offer their lives to save lives. They should be equipped,” said Tumulak.
The councilor said the P15 million will immediately be used to buy the necessary medicine, machines, and PPEs to equip the city’s personnel in treating patients suspected with Covid-19. /rcg
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