CWS demands accountability over deficiencies in DOH’s use of COVID funds

CWS demands accountability over deficiencies in DOH’s use of COVID funds

By Patricia Julianne Escaño

August 18, 2021

Manila, Philippines

A church labor organization demanded accountability from the Department of Health over questions on how it used billions in Covid-19 funds.

The Church-Workers Solidarity (CWS) said that the people must be informed of how public funds were spent especially during these trying times.

“CWS believes that the mismanagement of billions-worth of public funds constitutes criminal negligence,” said its chairperson Bishop Gerardo Alminaza of San Carlos.

State auditors have flagged the DOH in the handling of over P67 billion worth of funds that could have bolstered the country’s pandemic response.

The Commission on Audit (COA) said the DOH failed to utilize P59.124 billion of its 2020 budget and was unable to use as much as P11.8 billion of the Covid-19 funds.

Alminaza said these funds could have been used to save thousands of lives if only these were translated into meaningful programs during the health crisis.

The amount, he added, could also have at least eased the economic conditions of the country’s medical frontliners.

Thousands of health workers are dismayed about unreleased benefits and not receiving their hazard pay on time.

CWS said they also support the planned protest action of a group of health workers from private and public hospitals.

Alminaza said the mass protest “is just and legitimate in the midst of the government’s failure to listen to the grievances of the health sector”.

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