Press Release
March 1, 2018


SENATOR JV Ejercito on Thursday resumed in Legazpi City, Albay the series of public hearing on the Universal Health Care (UHC) bills.

Ejercito, chair of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, underscored the importance of holding public consultations in key areas. The Legaspi hearing was the third to be held outside the Senate, following ones held in the Cities of Cebu and Davao last month.

"The Committee is committed to reach as many Filipinos and stakeholders as possible as we work for the immediate passage of the Universal Health Care bills. The law must be a product of our constituents' inputs and reflective of their actual needs," Ejercito said.

Among those who attended the public hearing were district representatives, officials from the provinces, cities, municipalities, and barangays of the region as well as health officers and practitioners including barangay health workers (BHWs).

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III also attended the hearing and presented the Department's regional plan on local health facilities.

The senator highlighted the need for a universal health care citing the current health situation in the country.

"Filipinos spent additional Php505 in 2016 for health. According to Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) data, 54.2 percent of current health expenditures were shouldered by Filipinos while the government shares only comprise 34.2 percent of the total health expenditures in 2016," he said.

He said he would work for the passage of the proposed UHC in the Senate before the end of the year.

"I am confident that we could pass the UHC in the Senate before the end of the year. Our committee is close to wrapping-up our public consultations and will consolidate the inputs we gathered so far. This is a priority measure of the Duterte administration and I consider our regional consultation today as a meaningful move on the part of the Senate, to show its full support to the President," he said.

He added: "I am also grateful to my counterpart in the House, Cong. Helen Tan who has already passed their version of the Universal Health Coverage.

Ejercito also lamented that fact the country lacks some 42,000 beds in public hospitals to implement the recommended one bed is to 800 population (1:800).

"In every government hospital that I visited, the persisting problem is insufficient bed capacity. In the Bicol Region alone, the current bed to population ratio is 1:1,909. However, to achieve our target, we need at least Php228 Billion," he said.

Ejercito, along with other members of the Senate Seatmate bloc, also visited the evacuation areas in Legazpi City and Daraga and distributed relief goods to the evacuees affected by Mayon.

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