Free medicine for indigents soon?

Topic |  

Free medicine for indigents soon?

Topic |  

Indigent patients in Bohol would get a figurative “shot in the arm” with the P5-Billion given by PAGCOR, the government gambling regulator and operator, into President Rodrigo Duterte’s “social funds.”

According to PAGCOR AVP for community relations and services Arnell Ignacio , the “president wants that when the indigent patients are given medical prescriptions, they will be able to get medicine for free.”

The implementing arms will be the scores of to-be- revived “Botika ng Bayan” to be scattered across the country  as originated by former president Gloria M Arroyo.

Although the president can still use part of the P5-B social fund from PAGCOR to build a rehab center in the Visayas similar to the China-funded P1.4-B drug rehabilitation center in Nueva Ecija, there is still enough   cash left to fund the “Botika ng Bayan” program.


The news was met with delight by Governor Edgar Chatto who has also made a first move to supplement the pharmacies in the devolved 10 district hospitals, The move – discussed with the PCSO (Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office) headquarters in Manila – instructs the PCSO office in Tagbilaran City to augment the medicine supply in the present  hospital pharmacies in the 10 devolved district hospitals and  the other  government hospitals.

These PCSO medicine supply centers will eventually cover such other PCSO services being offered under their charter such as operations and the like.

The governor said his medicine programs would try to link together the evolving government methods of providing cheaper, if not free medicine to poor constituents.


Not known to most is that the medical insurance covered by the Philhealth in the national level is quite apart from the Philhealth coverage paid for the provincial government for the beneficiaries.

Currently, a Philhealth beneficiary can include his/her spouse who is a non member, the unmarried legitimate or legitimated or adopted children below 21 years old.  Likewise all senior citizens are automatically covered as well as parents blow 60 years old who acquire permanent disability.


Also children above 21 but with physical and mental handicaps are covered.


The governor also revealed that another Capitol initiative is the “Point of Care” coverage which provides qualified indigent patients who are not yet enrolled under the Philhealth Program. The larger benefit of the program is that the “Point of Care” beneficiaries will eventually graduate into becoming Philhealth members themselves.

Gov. Edgar Chatto, meantime, dared the government hospital chiefs to be fully competent as managers and decision makers to attain genuine hospital modernization, which is currently pursued by the province.

The governor could not allow hospital services to be rendered late “for whatever reason.”


At the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) on Friday, meanwhile, Board Member Jade Bautista recommended the conspicuous posting of each public hospital’s “Citizen’s Charter.”

This is mandated by Republic Act 9485 or the Anti-Red Tape Act (ARTA) of 2007, which co-authors happens to be Chatto when he was First District congressman.



Proactive, decisive leadership is a key to the genuine success of the serious upgrading program for the vital life facilities, Chatto told the hospital chiefs at their meeting days before the SP session.

Capitol has aggressively pursued the enhancement of quality services of the 10 province-run hospitals thru upgraded facilities, equipment, trained personnel and effective management system.

Chatto directed the provincial Local Finance Committee (LFC), Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) and its secretariat at the same meeting with the hospital chiefs to streamline the procurement process.

“We must now allow delayed response, especially in hospital services, for whatever reason,” the governor said straightly, clearly.

“That’s where real managers are distinguished from mere administrators,” he swiftly added.

But the governor at the same time cautioned that in streamlining so that services are delivered on time, compliance to prescribed procurement rules and regulations have to be always in mind.

Chatto recently commended Dr. Mike Jayoma for making the Jagna district hospital the first province-run hospital being awarded an International Standard Organization (ISO) certification.

The Jagna hospital model “has inspired others to dream big,” said the governor who himself encouraged the hospital chiefs because “we are here to support you.”

Because of the first phase of the province’s hospital modernization program, Jagna hospital has since owned a new three-storey building with elevator and ramp, increased its bed capacity and expanded services to more patients.


The provincial board approved the report of Bautista’s health committee which urged, among others, all government hospitals to conspicuously post their respective “Citizen’s Charters.”

The charter is a document which represents a systematic effort to focus on the commitment of the department, agency or office to the citizens with respect to the standard of services, information, choice and consultation, non-discrimination and accessibility, grievance redress, courtesy and value for money.

The committee also asked the hospital chiefs to revisit their manual of operations and remind their personnel, especially the “frontliners,” of rendering premium customer service.


Board Member Victor Dionisio Balite earlier complained against the hospital in Talibon for refusing to admit his daughter, who was rushed there because of a first asthma attack at dawn in June.

The child was denied immediate check-up allegedly for reason of hospital policy not accepting patient for consultation during those hours.

It was only after the hospital personnel had learned of the patient to be a child of the Third District board member that she was attended to and given services at the hospital, which is in the Second District.

Further, Bautista’s committee urged that every government hospital should institute call and text hotlines.

There should also be first aid training/retooling for all the drivers of the provincial government and all health and wellness practitioners of the local government units, the committee said in its approved report. (with a report from Ven rebo Arigo)

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply