“Of all the forms of inquality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.” – Senator Sonny Angara quoting the famous Martin Luther King Jr.
Angara has filed a bill that mandates all government district hospitals, local health units and barangay health centers in all cities and municipalities to provide free medicine for the poor.
Senate Bill 972 seeks to establish a “Libreng Gamot Program,” to be administered by the Department of Health (DOH), and shall be restricted to qualified poor recipients only, as certified by the barangay and officials of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
“Poor Filipinos still face the problem of limited access to low-cost, safe, and quality essential medicines.”
“We must adopt a system of implementing the delivery of free basic medicines to those who have less in life in all health facilities in the country, giving priority to the underprivileged, ailing, malnourished, elderly, women, children, disabled, and the poorest of the poor,” the legislator said.
The lawmaker cited a World Health Organization (WHO) survey which showed that medicines in the Philippines are more expensive compared to other Asian countries.
The WHO study further stated that major causes of deaths in low-income countries can be treated effectively with simple essential medicines.
This year, the DSWD has started implementing the P1-billion Libreng Gamot Para sa Masa (Lingap) program to fund medicine assistance for indigent patients. It is being implemented in six hospitals in Regions III, VI, VII, XI, and the National Capital Region.
“Our proposed measure would strengthen the Lingap program to enable the government to offer more direct assistance to underprivileged Filipinos who do not have access to proper health care,” the senator said.