IF THE controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) is meant to fund urgent, high-impact projects, why spend for such things as stem cell research instead of hospital beds?

The question was raised by Senator Nancy Binay during the Senate finance committee hearing on the DAP on Friday.

Binay questioned the priorities of the administration in its funding allocations, even while it claims that DAP was meant to give priority funding to projects that would have high impact on the public.

For example, Binay asked why P70 million was allotted to stem cell research equipment for the Lung Center of the Philippines when so many public hospitals lack basic things such as hospital beds.

Health Secretary Enrique Ona responded by saying that the equipment to be purchased would not be used exclusively for stem cell research.

However Binay said that if the government really meant DAP to respond to priority needs, then more basic health needs should have been the focus of funding.

“Hindi ninyo naisip bumili ng hospital beds instead of stem cell research,” Binay asked Ona. “Priority nga diba, what can help our people? Hindi ko makita ang priority.”

Ona then said that that while government recognizes these basic health needs, it also needs to look at the bigger picture.

“Tinitignan natin ang kakulangan in terms of preventive, promotive, curative, at rehabilitation,” Ona told the committee.

Ona added that the Health Department has already purchased ten thousand new hospital beds for public hospitals. However, when pressed by Binay how many public hospital beds would still be needed, Ona said another five to ten thousand.

“Why not put the P70 million to those instead of stem cell, why so special ang stem cell? Wala na nga sa GAA (General Appropriations Act), nakakuha pa ng pondo.”

 

2 Responses to Binay: Stem cell a priority?

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MJ

July 25th, 2014 at 8:02 am

Nice to hear a good interrogation from Sen. Nancy Binay. At last!

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Nory Ison

July 26th, 2014 at 7:39 am

It’s true that it’s a matter of priorities. But there are short-term priorities and long-term priorities. Health needs are a continuing concern but like a sink-hole, it can suck everything in and will never be fully met. Allocation of resources then becomes an important issue with everybody pitching for their favorites for whatever reasons they may have. Stem cell research is a long-term project with potential huge dividends (google it for more info). It’s like are we going to put all our money in hospital beds or allocate a portion for road-building that may help the country’s economy in the long run.

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