The government isn't taking any chances after the COVID-19 crisis.
The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said health and food security are at the top of its list of priorities under the proposed national budget for next year.
During a pre-State of the Nation Address forum, DBM assistant secretary Rolando Toledo confirmed where the bulk of the reported P4.3 trillion allocation for 2021 — higher than this year's by five percent — is headed.
“The priority of the government as far as moving forward is basically one, is to focus on the health sector — establishing more health facilities, purchasing necessary hospital equipment, test kits, and COVID-19 vaccine," he explained. "(Also) Implementation of Universal Health Care (UHC) law.”
Last year, President Rodrigo Duterte signed the UHC Bill into law (Republic Act No. 11223) that automatically enrolls all Filipinos in the National Health Insurance Program. This provides access to health services at the same time protection from financial hardship.
To secure the country's food supply, the government will go straight to the source and focus on preparing farmers for the future:
“This is to ensure the unhampered movement of agricultural goods and services through efficient transport and logistics system. And also to intensify provision of farm machinery and equipment to farmers’ enterprises for their modernization.”
Aside from health and food security, infrastructure will be another priority, in line with the administration's "Build, Build, Build" program. Last month, Budget and Management Secretary Wendel Avisado said most of the 2021 budget will be allotted to economic recovery and livelihood of people hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.