Palace OK with mandatory PhilHealth for seniors but wants poor covered first
MANILA, Philippines –Following the Department of Justice’s recommendation for the passage of a bill providing for mandatory PhilHealth coverage of Filipino senior citizens, Malacañang on Sunday said it is open to idea but the administration’s priority is to focus on the poorest of the poor.
“‘Yon pong hinggil sa senior citizens, ang pagsulong nito ay naaayon po ’yan sa layunin ng ating pamahalaan,” Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said over state-run radio.
(Regarding senior citizens, pushing for such a measure is in accordance to the objective of the government.)
He said the goal of the government was for all Filipinos to be covered by PhilHealth.
However, he said it is not that easy since there are still many Filipinos who are poor and without health coverage.
“Mas binibigyang importansya po ’yung pagtitiyak na ’yung mga kabilang sa pinakamahirap na pamilya ay mabibigyan ng sapat na kalinga sa panahon ng pangangailangan,” he said.
(We are giving more importance in ensuring that those from the poorest families are given adequate assistance during times of need.)
Coloma said this was why the government is focusing on the “lowest quintile” or 20 percent of the poorest families in the country, many of which are already covered by the conditional cash transfer program.
In addition to the CCT, these families are given “integrated social protection services” for the health and diet of the children.
In a legal opinion document, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said the government should “give full support to the improvement of the total well-being of the elderly and their full participation in society.” She recommended the approval of a consolidated enrolled bill in the Senate and the House of Representatives providing for the PhilHealth coverage of all senior citizens in the country.
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