Press Release
June 5, 2010


With health care delivery being one of the major gaps in RP's social services sector, Senator Edgardo J. Angara urged for the passage and prioritization of proposed bills on many of the country's health care issues. He recently expressed concern for the deteriorating health of many Filipinos, particularly attributing the condition to poor health and sanitation, and lack of access to medical attention.

"Health is indispensable to national development, and should be a top priority of government," stresses Angara. To this end, Angara has filed the following bills:

  • SBN-3087 ensures early diagnosis and treatment of rare diseases in the country, and to establish a research initiatives and resource generation efforts among relevant agencies of government and the private sector for improving the quality of life of patients.

  • SBN-2592 develops a network of health researchers and research organizations; secures sustainable research funding on health; ensures public access to information; utilizes research results in the form of products, technologies, programs and services.

  • SBN-2010 aims to strengthen the capability of the PhilHealth for more effective implementation of the National Health Insurance Program against fraud and forgery and defines and increases existing offenses, abuses and unethical practices in the program.

  • SBN-865 (Dental Unit in Every Rural Health Unit) creates for and allocates funding of dental units in rural health centers.

  • SBN-873 authorizes government hospitals to utilize its income for their operations and capital outlay, and be allowed to retain their permanent income without the need to propose its inclusion in the annual GAA.

  • SBN-218 (the Children's Health Insurance Program) amends RA7875 and RA9241 to institutionalize a health insurance program for children of poor families.

Angara stressed that governments' stimulus packages might not be enough to combat such health crises, hence the need for a stable system to cushion unforeseeable events such as infection pandemics, calamities and diseases outbreaks.

One way of taking such issues head on is through the National TeleHealth System that Angara introduced. In the 2009 National Budget, he allocated P100 million for a National Telehealth System as part of the government's stimulus package to provide a venue for information-sharing among health professionals, which is necessary to determine symptoms of swine flu and later on, similar outbreaks. This, he stressed, would enable Manila's experts to provide diagnosis to far-flung provinces at real-time effect.

Angara, who chairs the Senate Committee on Science and Technology, is also encouraging experts in medical and research fields to come up with more programs and studies that can aid the government in its efforts to alleviate the people, especially the rural poor, from poor access to proper, affordable and effective health care system.

"We are working very closely on developing strategies to combat our looming health care problem, and one step to achieve this is to call on the Congress to increase our appropriation for the health sector," relates Angara.

Angara, the father of the PhilHealth Act, which institutionalized the county's insurance system in the country; and the Senior Citizens' Act and its succeeding amendments, ensuring the provision particularly of social security and health benefits to senior citizens-both part of his concerted efforts to assist Filipinos in defraying costs of health care in the country.

He concludes, "Especially in times of dire need, people are more conscious of their spending and to some extent, complacent of their health if only to cut back on their household costs. It is then our moral obligation to provide for means that can greatly help minimize their health issues and for us in the government to facilitate expedited response."

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