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Cagayan board members question zero fund for hospital MOOEs in 2018 budget

TUGUEGARAO CITY, Philippines- As budget deliberation continues for Cagayan’s 2018-2022 plan, several board members questioned the zero funding for district hospital’s Maintenance and other Operating Expenses (MOOE).

In a regular session on Monday, January 15, Provincial Health Office (PHO) Head Carlos Cortina said the funds for hospital’s MOOEs will be lifted from their PhilHealth, hence reducing the items to zero in their 2018 budget proposal.

Cortina said the zeroed MOOEs “might” also be a result of “change of nomenclature of object of expenditures,” meaning the funds for said items were deleted but other items labeled in the budget proposal will cover the zeroed MOOEs. He, however, did not elaborate and give specific details which among the items in the budget will the MOOEs be derived from.

Cortina defended the move, saying the provincial government chose to source from the PhilHealth income because this was higher than what the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) could provide. The PhilHealth income could fund more than P54 million while the IRA could only give more than P46 million, Cortina said.

However, Board Member Perla Tumaliuan asked Cortina on the executive’s contingency plan in case PhilHealth operations be suspended such as the case in Tuguegarao City People’s General Hospital.

Cortina said they will have to get it again from the IRA and other income of the provincial government.

Tumaliuan said there is “no need to zero” hospital MOOEs, saying that the PHO presumes regularity of fund sources from PhilHealth.

“Wala naman pong mawawala in case we have allocated some amount. Parang ospital yan eh. In case of emergency, meron tayong pagkukuhanan,” Tumaliuan said.

(READ: Vice gov Vargas warns Cagayan gov’t for ‘not following’ OK’d 2017 budget)

Meanwhile, ex-officio Board Member Maila Ting-Que noted in a comment during the board’s Facebook live feed that Cortina’s statements on the zeroed MOOEs contradicted planning officer Elisa Umoso’s explanation.

In the previous session, Umoso said hospital’s funds were covered by the Department of Health, but later revealing that only projects under this funding only covers infrastructure and site development.

Earlier, the board raised issues over the lack of funds for health services and social services. Board Members Archie Layus, Cris Barcena, and Karen Turingan noted the disparity between prioritized infrastructure projects and said basic services.

The board is currently reviewing the updated long term plan as a requisite to the 2018 plan and budget. Northernforum.net

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