PhilHealth coverage for all Pinoys pushed
MABALACAT CITY — Senator Loren Legarda has pushed for PhilHealth coverage of all Filipinos by next year as she augmented the budget of the Department of Health (DOH) to achieve said target.
According to the DOH, there are about eight million Filipinos still not covered by PhilHealth.
Legarda, principal author of the Mandatory Universal Healthcare Coverage Act, said that the health of the public deserves to be on top of the priorities of government. “It is our duty, in serving the public, to extend basic healthcare protection to all our citizens.”
“In the 2017 budget, we will cover all Filipinos under PhilHealth, and for indigent patients, they will not pay for anything in government hospitals under the No Balance Billing (NBB),” she said.
Meanwhile, Legarda also expressed support to other priority programs of the DOH.
Legarda welcomed the anticipated issuance of an Executive Order banning smoking in closed public areas and designating smoking areas in public open spaces.
Based on the Tobacco Atlas of the World Lung Foundation and American Cancer Society, at least 71,850 deaths in the Philippines every year are attributed to tobacco-related diseases. Moreover, second-hand smoking (SHS) increases the risks of contracting lung cancer by 30 percent and coronary heart disease by 25 percent.
The 2011 Global Youth Tobacco Survey further notes that, among 13-15 year old Filipinos, at least two out of five are exposed to second-hand smoking at home, while three out of five are exposed to it outside the home.
“The ill effects of cigarette smoking to both smokers and second-hand smokers remain a serious threat to the health of Filipinos and, thus, must be addressed,” the senator said.
Legarda said she will include a special provision under the 2017 national budget mandating the conduct of information and education campaign in schools and communities on the evils of cigarettes, alcohol and illegal drugs.
The senator likewise aired her concern over the DOH report, which revealed that a Filipino child born to the poorest family is three times more likely not to reach his 5th birthday compared to one born to the richest family.
Research shows that the first 1,000 days of a child’s life—which covers the nine months of a mother’s pregnancy until a child’s second birthday—is critical in the child’s development.
In line with this, Legarda expressed her support for the immediate passage of the proposed First 1,000 Days Act, which will establish a nutrition and healthcare program for pregnant and lactating women and their babies in all barangays.
Legarda asked the DOH to address the issue of open defecation, stressing that it is a national sanitation and health issue.
According to the DOH, eight percent of the population still has no access to sanitary facilities. Under their 2017 proposed budget, the DOH will provide toilet bowls and the LGUs will do the construction.
Legarda said the DOH should meet with LGUs to determine informal settler areas that must be prioritized in the provision of improved sanitary facilities using the Sarangani Province model, which has zero open defecation.