Press Release
November 23, 2012


Senator Edgardo J. Angara sought to strengthen the country's capacity to conduct research and development (R&D) in health under the sin tax measure passed by the Senate on Tuesday.

In his amendments, which were accepted by the chamber, Angara urged that the additional revenues be used to fund R&D projects into such key fields as aging, regenerative medicine, and the production of drugs from indigenous sources among others.

"The sin tax measure is a health measure as much as it is a revenue measure. We must state that in no uncertain terms," said Angara, Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography.

"If we are to improve our healthcare services, some of the incremental funds should be channeled into the science and R&D that helps us improve the delivery of our healthcare services."

He also emphasized that enough funds should be set aside for the Department of Health (DOH) and other government agencies to gather, compile, analyze, publish and disseminate health data in a sustainable manner.

"One of the key problems our healthcare system faces is a lack of information. By creating a comprehensive and constantly updated health database for the country, we lay the groundwork for more scientific decision-making, better formal planning and also more effective training programs for our health professionals, especially those that are assigned to rural posts."

Angara, Chair of the Congressional Commission on Science and Technology (COMSTE), said that government must be able to keep track of the state of health of every Filipino, even those in isolated areas, if it wants to expand healthcare coverage.

"With a task as massive as ensuring universal healthcare, we should make sure that the necessary data is collected, studied and shared properly. Our government must be able to dive deep into the science of health and healthcare delivery."

COMSTE earlier identified the establishment of a nationwide digital medical records database as a priority project, to enable doctors, nurses and other health professionals to conduct remote medical consultations via ICT.

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