SENATE Minority Leader Ralph Recto wants all state gambling earnings earmarked for the purchase of medicines to boost anemic government purchases of essential drugs.
Recto said about P40 billion in Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) and Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) income next year could be added to the Department of Health’s allocation for medicines of P16.4 billion, raising its 2017 budget for drugs purchases to almost P57 billion.
“If this happens, then it is as if the DoH has won the lottery. Using gaming income for medicines, however you look at it, is a winning combination,” Recto said.
The net effect is that DoH will be getting an additional P110 million a day to buy drugs, the senator said.
“This is a good prescription from Digong,” he added.
Recto said PAGCOR’s forecast income for 2016 is P45.4 billion, less P14.7 billion in operating expenses, or a net income before tax of about P30 billion.
“If this is the formula used in computing what will be remitted to the DoH, then it is a sizeable amount,” Recto said.
To be added to this is the PCSO Charity Fund, representing 30 percent of its gross revenue. This reached P9.6 billion on total sales of P37.4 billion last year.
“So combined, that’s easily P40 billion in additional money for health,” Recto said. “This will bump up the gross DoH budget to P181.6 billion next year.”
Under the 2017 national budget, the DoH is proposed to receive P90.9 billion plus P50.2 billion for the payment of PhilHealth premiums to cover poor families and senior citizens, and P500 million for calamity aid.