REELECTIONIST Senator JV Ejercito has thanked President Duterte for approving the funds for the improvement of health facilities under the 2019 national budget, while thumbing down some items worth billions of pesos.



“In the first, I was confident that programs to upgrade health services in the country would be supported by the President. I was certain all along that the funds which I had proposed to be included in the budget for the improvement and expansion of health facilities, and also for the provision of medical equipment, wouldn’t be vetoed by the President,” he said in a statement.



The President recently signed the P3.7 trillion 2019 national appropriations, but vetoed some P95.3 billion worth of programs and projects under the Department of Public Works and Highways.



Ejercito, who earned the nickname “Mr. Healthcare” for spearheading the Universal Health Care law, said the President did not reject the more than P15 billion allocations for Health Facilities Enhancement Program (HFEP) “because, probably, he saw the wisdom behind this direction.”



Ejercito, chairman of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, managed to restore the P15-billion HFEP funds in the budget bill, which had been removed earlier by the budget department.



He said the HFEP funds would be used to modernize and expand health facilities being operated by the Department of Health and local government units, and provide these health infrastructures with the necessary equipment to better serve the people, especially those who live in far-flung areas that rely only on community health centers or barangay health units for their health needs.



Currently, there are 900 completely constructed health facilities, 93 facilities are 90 percent completed, 235 are 80 percent completed, and 88 are 70 percent completed.



“With the HFEP funds, I am optimistic that all these will be finished, complete with equipment. I am happy that after the impasse, we now have a budget that ensures that our people will get better health services from the government,” Ejercito said. ######