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November 2, 2008

Lobbying for the Money

Tomorrow is another new day which will probably start very early for me. I will be travelling back to my area of assignment after the All Saints' Day holiday and the first order of business is to lobby for budget for 2009. It is a known fact that my area which is Candoni, Negros Occidental is a 4th class municipality and still dependent on the Internal Revenue Allotment of the National Government. While it has somehow started collecting its own local taxes, the collection is not enough to support most of its government operations. It is largely a poor community, with a culture that is mostly dole-out mentality considering that most of the people are very poor. In the field of health, it is very important that we can get to have enough budget for us to function effectively and efficiently. Unfortunately, the history of Candoni is that, in the last 3 years, it has been gradually slashing its budget for health, particularly the budget for Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses (MOOE).


Under the MOOE, the health office would get their travel expenses for both outside trainings and meetings and inside the locality (such as barangay visits and referral of patients to hospitals). Under the MOOE the health office would also get their office and medical supplies and equipments and during the current year, even the fuel for the ambulance use was taken from the health's meager MOOE budget. I have sent a proposal a month ago asking for more money for our MOOE, with consideration for fuel, communication, implementation of various health programs, enrollment of indigents for PHILHEALTH, contribution to the South Negros Interlocal Health Zone and medical supplies and equipments. Based on my proposal, we are asking for an MOOE of around 500,000 pesos, excluding travel expenses and office supplies.

For the current year, a large chunk of our Other Expenses were spent on fuel alone. We were hardly able to buy enough medical supplies and drugs to be dispensed for patients.



The next issue would also be the compensation for our contractual employees. In the past, the salary for the job orders are taken from the Basic Health Support Services account. But from the same account, the compensation for our 88 Barangay health workers and other support services are taken.



There are also plans of hiring medical technologists, more nurses and doctors to augment our small human resources running the 24-hour infirmary. Currently, other than being undermanned, my staff are undercompensated. At present, for the health support services to be adequate, it requires around 900,000 pesos for compensation alone for the job orders assigned in health.



It is going to be tough trying to convince the councilors to support our health programs. Hopefully we can get the budget that we need for 2009.


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