Press Release
February 19, 2010

Aquino: "Every Filipino should have Philhealth"

Liberal Party standard bearer Senator Benigno "Noynoy" S. Aquino III vowed today to achieve a "holistic and comprehensive" public healthcare system at the Philippine Academy of Family Physicians (PAFP) Universal Health Care Forum at the Philippine International Convention Center, Pasay City.

Speaking before 3,000 doctors, the current leader in all national presidential surveys vowed to ensure that all Filipinos have access to Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) cards and its services.

"We will go beyond ensuring that each Filipino has a PhilHealth card. Universal Health Care should mean that every PhilHealth cardholder will get not merely the card; but more important, the essential health services, basic medicines and appropriate quality health cards," said Aquino.

He noted that the National health Insurance Law which created the PhilHealth called for health insurance for all Filipinos by 2010. However, according to the National Demographic and Health Survey of 2008, health insurance covers merely 38% of the Philippine population.

Aquino said he will work with local government units and private health professionals to make sure that the services are available in hospitals and clinics everywhere.

He added that his administration will strive to improve the local health infrastructure by building "22,000 more barangay health stations, 3,000 more outpatient rural health units, and at least 150 more district hospitals."

If elected, he will also increase the health budget to 5% and ensure the full implementation of the Magna Carta public health workers.

Aquino, however, stressed that universal healthcare cannot be achieved without eliminating graft and corruption. "In 2009 alone, 280 billion pesos of the national budget was lost to corruption. This does not yet include revenues lost due to inefficiencies and corrupt practices in tax collection. With 280 billion, we could have built 560,000 health clinics around the country," he said.

Aquino ended his address with a call to the doctors to join him in the fight against corruption as the first step to improving the public health system.

"Let us be clear and frank with each other. Our shared dream of universal health care and the goals we aim for can only be achieved if, together, we stand vigilant and fight corruption - the disease that plagues our government and our society," Aquino said.

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