Press Release
September 21, 2013


Instead of people going to lawmakers to ask for medical assistance, Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago wants the poor to have direct access to essential medicines through barangay health centers.

"The practice of senators and congressmen of giving medical assistance to indigents through their pork barrel just facilitates corruption and creates a culture of mendicancy among our people," Santiago said.

"This is the solution to the so-called problem of senators and congressmen who say they are worried they can't help their constituents anymore if we take away their pork barrel. Let's just distribute free essential medicines directly to the people through barangay health centers," Santiago said.

Santiago has filed Senate Bill No. 1445, or the "Free Essential Medicines for Barangays Act". The bill makes free essential medicines available to indigent patients through their barangay health centers.

The bill gives the Secretary of Health the discretion to determine the kind of medicines that may be included in the free medicines program. The bill states that medicines for coughs, colds, nasal congestion, sore throat, burns, aches and pains, diarrhea, and intestinal worm infections in children should be included in the program.

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