Press Release
September 17, 2018

Transcript of Interview with Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon

Q: On the DoH budget

Drilon: Kung susundin po natin ang version na isinumite ng DBM, mawawalan ng trabaho ang 15,000 nurse and other heal personnel sa buong bansa. Ang importante, kailangan po natin itong mga health personnel; universal healthcare, kailangan po natin; karagdagang nurses at doctors, kailangan natin. But in this budget we are reducing, we are letting go, or inaalis natin mga 15,000 nurses at health personnel. Hindi po ito tama. Kahit sabihin nating ililipat sa MPBF iyan, kapag walang clearance ng Malacanang, hindi po mailalabas ang pondo. In the meantime, you have 15,000 health workers who are unsure on January 1, 2019 they would have a job. So you can imagine the effect on the service delivery of these 15,000 workers.

Q: She (DBM representative) has to raise it to her principals pa raw?

Drilon: Yes, walang maibigay na commitment, that's why we have to suspend. Hindi po ako papayag na hindi po maibalik ang budget para sa 15,000 kawani ng DoH. They were suggesting that the Senate committee on finance realigns the budget to restore the budget; that will not work because unless the DBM agrees that will be voted.

Instead of letting go of 15,000 out of a total of 26,000, my suggestion is that we regularize the 26,000 because right now they are just on job orders. Ang tawag doon, 'endo.' About 26,000 health personnel are on endo status. Ang suggestion ko, let us regularize them so that we can provide stability to our health system. you cannot have an endo situation in the DoH, because the services weill be affected.

Q: Do we have the budget?

Drilon: We have the budget. Even if we don't have, reduce some other items in the budget in order to provide the budget for the DoH. Remove the fat in the budget in order to provide funds for the DoH.

Q: There will no additional hiring next year because of this lead budget of the DoH?

Drilon: No additional hiring is bad, but reducing it by 15,000 personnel is worse. I will not allow the budget to be passed unless this injustice is addressed.

Q: On other issues, yung series of bombings in Mindanao is happening amidst the martial law, do we need to revisit this?

Drilon: We need to revisit the utilization of the intelligence budget because the first corner is to see where the intelligence fund is being utilized, and that is why I think it is about time that we activate the committee on intelligence fund. I think Sen. Honasan is doing that. We should continue. This should be an item for discussion on select committee for intelligence fund to find out behind closed doors how the budget is being utilized.

Q: Yung martial law ba is necessary in Mindanao?

Drilon: The implementation is what is important. This is basically an intelligence work.

Q: Yung incidence like this will work against the possible extension of martial law?

Drilon: We will discuss it when the time comes.

Q: Do you have any comment on the Palparan ruling?

Drilon: These are bright spots in an otherwise difficult judicial process.

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