Latest Stories

Aid to poor should be coursed through health centers, not legislators—Santiago


Senator Miriam Defensor- Santiago   INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago has filed a bill she believed would help solve senators and congressmen’s problem about letting go of their pork barrel as a means to help their poor constituents’ need for immediate medical assistance.

Santiago has filed Senate Bill No. 1445 providing for the distribution of essential medicines to the country’s indigents via the barangay (village) health centers.

Santiago said in a press release that the practice of senators and congressmen of giving medical assistance to indigents through their priority development assistance fund “just facilitates corruption and creates a culture of mendicancy among our people.”

“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,” Santiago said. “Let’s just distribute free essential medicines directly to the people through barangay health centers.”

The bill seeks to provide the secretary of health the discretion to determine the kind of medicines that may be included in the program.

The bill also seeks to provide for the distribution in health centers of free medicines for cough, colds, nasal congestion, sore throat, burns, aches and pains, diarrhea, and intestinal worm infestation in children.

Santiago was among the first to call for the abolition of the P25-billion PDAF after it was found that billions of pesos earmarked for livelihood projects had been diverted to fake non-governmental organizations, part of which allegedly found its way back to the legislators as kickbacks.

Santiago has filed a resolution for the PDAF’s three-year phase out but majority of senators have said they were in favor of eliminating the PDAF from the 2014 budget.

The Senate, however, has yet to decide whether to take out the P25 billion from the proposed P1.226-trillion national budget or to re-align the allocation to other programs particularly to those on health and education.

“While the Constitution mandates health care for every Filipino, a significant number of the population is unable to afford basic health care services. For the poorer population, it is least in their priorities,” Santiago said. “They prefer not to go to hospitals or clinics for treatment because of the high costs of medical service and medicines.”

Quoting the Department of Health, Santiago said medicine prices in the Philippines were substantially higher than in other countries.

“Aside from the high prices, the poorer rural communities also lack pharmacies. There are village drugstores, Botika ng Bayan or Botika ng Barangay, which sell medicines at lower prices, but some of the poorest and far-flung provinces do not have them,” Santiago said.

“Barangay health centers also provide free medicines and supplements, but supplies tend to be sporadic. This bill seeks to ensure that free essential medicines are accessible to the poor,” Santiago added.


Santiago seeks gradual abolition of pork barrel

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Legislation , medical assistance , PDAF , Politics , Pork barrel , Priority Development Assistance Fund , Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. Santiago accuses Lacson of fronting for Enrile, Gigi Reyes
  2. Name names, Lacson told
  3. Santiago: Enrile, Lacson, Reyes plotting massive psywar operation
  4. Slain officer’s ‘diagram’ rocks PNP
  5. Kris Aquino’s ex- close in security named new Air Force chief
  6. Ex-COA chief nabbed for plunder
  7. 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  8. Obama: US will defend Japan vs China
  9. Save the queen? Aide takes fall for Enrile, Gigi Reyes
  10. HK apology: Why Estrada and not Aquino?
  1. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  2. 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  3. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  4. Estrada: Gigi Reyes won’t testify vs JPE
  5. Bernice Lee arrested by NBI team
  6. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  7. Cedric Lee’s cohort flies out of PH despite look-out order – De Lima
  8. Suspect in Vhong Navarro’s mauling wants to turn state witness – De Lima
  9. Reckless driver endangered lives of Aquino, entourage–report
  10. Lawyer: Napoles ‘will tell all’
  1. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  2. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  3. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  4. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  5. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  6. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  7. 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  8. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  9. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  10. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano


  • Seabed search for missing Malaysian jet to widen
  • Lacson rejects calls to name ‘pork’ execs
  • Obama due in Seoul as North Korea nuclear test fears grow
  • Hold departure order out vs Corona, Singson
  • Malaysia to release MH370 report–PM
  • Sports

  • Michael Phelps loses to Lochte in comeback meet
  • Sharapova advances to Stuttgart quarterfinals
  • Galedo caps ride of redemption
  • Beermen, Express dispute second semis slot today
  • Lady Agilas upset Lady Bulldogs in four sets
  • Lifestyle

  • ‘Recovered’ Banksy works on display ahead of sale
  • Marinduque: Visiting the ‘palm of the ocean’
  • First at Vatican in 60 years
  • How Jing Monis Salon gave Krissy the pixie
  • Want to be a supermodel? Work on your inner beauty, says Joey Espino
  • Entertainment

  • Paul McCartney to play at Candlestick concert
  • Kristoffer Martin: from thug to gay teen
  • Has Ai Ai fallen deeply with ‘sireno?’
  • California court won’t review Jackson doctor case
  • Cris Villonco on play adapted from different medium
  • Business

  • PAL hailed for ban on shark fin cargo
  • BSP to change tint of P100 bill
  • Nielsen sees car buying boom in the Philippines
  • How author of best-seller exposed ‘one percent’ economic elite
  • Bangko Sentral readies new bank lending rules
  • Technology

  • Cloud strength helps Microsoft earnings top Street
  • Vatican announces hashtag for April 27 canonizations
  • Enrile in Masters of the Universe, Lord of the Rings?
  • Top Traits of Digital Marketers
  • No truth to viral no-visa ‘chronicles’
  • Opinion

  • Corruption not invincible after all
  • Editorial Cartoon, April 25, 2014
  • No deal, Janet
  • Like making Al Capone a witness vs his gang
  • MERS-CoV and mothers
  • Global Nation

  • Filipinos second-shortest in Southeast Asia
  • China welcomes PH apology
  • Only 4 Etihad passengers not accounted for
  • Abandoned in Malta,15 PH seamen return
  • Senator hopes PH will also get same vow
  • Marketplace