Press Release
October 21, 2009


With Typhoon Ramil looming in the Philippine area of responsibility and the increasing number of Ondoy and Pepeng victims suffering from Leptospirosis, Sen. Edgardo Angara is calling on government-run hospitals to allocate funds to extend assistance to patients.

Angara noted that "this is a crucial moment for the typhoon victims start their recovery from the tragedies of Pepeng and Ondoy. While it is beyond our control to prevent typhoons from coming our way, it is our responsibility to prepare our people and make the appropriate post-disaster response, such as in the event of health crises like this leptospirosis outbreak."

"In some areas around Metro Manila and nearby provinces such as Laguna and Pangasinan, communities are still submerged in stagnant floodwaters. Floodwaters are not expected to recede until December. Schools and evacuation centers remain cramped with families still unable to return to their homes, if they even have one to go back to," said Angara.

According to latest reports, 24 towns are still submerged in post-Ondoy and Pepeng floods.

Meanwhile, the DOH has reported a rising figure of Leptospirosis of already 1.7 million victims and the death toll recorded at more than 130. There is no vaccine available to prevent the bacterial infection, hence the necessity for prophylactic treatment or to directly administer antibiotics. But in many distressed areas, victims and patients cannot afford the more than P40 cost of drugs such as prophylaxis (preventive) and penicillin (treatment). The DOH has assured to put into action the Cheaper Medicines Act.

"This is an opportunity for our hospitals to optimize the use of their revenues, reallocate some funds and help rescue people from Leptospirosis. Hopefully the national government and the DBM will allow this arrangement, even a temporary exception, just so we can reach out to our ailing victims. I think we can consider this a health emergency and make the necessary response," said Angara, Chair of the Senate Committee on Finance.

Government hospitals receive subsidy from the national government, and are not allowed to independently utilize their income for the maintenance and other operating expenses and capital outlay. Said income is required by law to be remitted to the national treasury. Angara has passed a bill to amend this and enable the hospital's capability for expansion and improvement of its services.

Angara is proposing to give more autonomy to government hospitals in the area of physical and operational development, allowing them to utilize their income for their maintenance, operating expenses and capital outlay expenditures.

News Latest News Feed