Duterte signs universal health care law
P RESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday, February 20, signed into law the landmark legislation that grants Filipinos access to universal health care services.
Duterte led the ceremonial signing at the Palace's Rizal Hall on Wednesday afternoon, February 20, of the Universal Health Care Act.
The law, ratified by Congress in December 2018, provides health care insurance coverage to all Filipinos under the National Health Security program and upgrades the government's medical facilities.
A budget of P257 billion in the first year of its implementation. Under the 2019 budget, however, only around P217 billion was appropriated for the program.
The P40-billion funding gap is expected to be financed by a measure raising taxes on tobacco products, but Congress is still drafting a final version of the bill.
Other fund sources are: 50 percent national government share from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation; 40 percent from the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office's Charity Fund; Philippine Health Insurance Corporation's premium contributions; and Health department's annual appropriations.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the government would opt for "gradual" implementation of the law in the meantime, while it was looking for ways on how to fill in the funding gap for the universal health care program.
"Pagkakasyahin muna natin until such time na magkasya ang pondo. Gradual ang implementation pero (The implementation is gradual but) there are many ways to augment the resources. I'm sure the government will know how to source funds, in accordance with the Constitution," he said.
"Pag-aaralan lahat iyan kung ano ang makakabuti sa ating mga kababayan kaugnay sa kanilang kalusugan (We'll look for ways that will benefit our countrymen when it comes to their health)," the Palace official added.
The new law ensures that all Filipinos are guaranteed equitable access to quality and affordable health goods and services, and protection against financial risks through a systemic approach and clear delineation of roles of key agencies and stakeholders towards better performance in the health care system. AUTHORITIES arrested in Bulacan on Thursday, February 21, two women who yielded P25 million worth of suspected methamphetamine hydrochloride (shabu).
Cristina Joan Webb Trinidad, 39, and Ruth Francisco, 34, were arrested in their rented apartment in Barangay Sta. Barbara, Baliwag, Bulacan in a drug operation conducted by the local police around 3:50 a.m. Thursday.
Senior Superintendent Chito Bersaluna, Bulacan Provincial Police Office director, said the two women were arrested after a poseur buyer purchased P10,000 worth of illegal drugs from them at their residence.
Seized from the suspects were 3.7 kilograms of shabu worth P25.744 million and other drug paraphernalia.
Bersaluna said the two suspects are not on their drugs watchlist.
But with the value of illegal drugs seized from their possession, they may be considered as high-profile drug traffickers.