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The General Appropriations Bill (GAB) approved on Monday by the House of Representatives prioritizes four “anti-campaigns” of the government on tuberculosis, the drug menace, money laundering and poverty.

This was disclosed by Rep. Edcel C. Lagman, Chairman of the Committee on Appropriations.

Lagman said that basic social services on education, health and social welfare and development, which principally benefit the poor, have a combined budgetary increase of P14.3 billion over their respective proposed allocations in the National Expenditure Program (NEP).

The anti-TB campaign was increased by P720 million which includes the treatment of teachers and non-teaching personnel in public schools who are afflicted with tuberculosis.

The crusade against the drug menace was boosted with an increase of P300 million in the budgets of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB).

The request of the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLAC) for an increase of P24.5 million was granted.

Lagman cited in particular the increases in the following items to address poverty:

  • P1 billion for pre-school education in public elementary schools to equalize opportunities for pupils coming from poor families who cannot afford pre-school instruction in expensive privately run pre-schools;
  • P200 million for distance education for public high schools for the benefit of school dropouts and students in conflict areas;
  • P1.8 billion for reproductive health and family planning in order to afford poor women and couples access to free information on various family planning methods and modern natural and artificial reproductive health commodities;
  • P908.7 million for assistance to indigent patients in government hospitals;
  • P350 million for sitio electrification projects particularly in depressed communities; and
  • P600 million for Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (CIDSS) and protective services to poor families.