Dr. Paula Paz Sydiongco, Director of DOH-Center for Health Development I, stressed out that there is a need to strengthen our health care processes to be able to implement the UHC law so that every Filipino will be benefited. As such all Filipinos especially the vulnerable population, will be given better access to health. She further emphasized that the success of UHC is the success of all.
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Also present during the event were two of the distinguished leaders of Ilocos Norte who expressed their priority towards the health sector. Hon. Ferdinand Alexander Marcos III, Representative for the first District of Ilocos Norte, has vowed to upgrade the District Hospital in Bangui from a Level I to Level II health facility in response to the difficulties encountered during the height of the pandemic.
Likewise, he had encouraged the mayor of the town of Sarrat, Mayor Remigio Medrano, to expand the Sarrat Health Center in their old municipal auditorium, “now that the foundations have been set and the equipment have been bought, I will make sure that with all the necessary funds we will be able to complete the Sarrat Health Center in the next three years”, he stated. These initiatives can serve as preliminary steps in the implementation of the UHC which will provide people living away from the City of Laoag and the City of Batac an easier access to basic health care.
Furthermore, the Governor of Ilocos Norte, Hon. Matthew Joseph Marcos Manotoc, has mentioned to continually enhance the medical facilities by improving infrastructures and increasing the capacity of every government hospital in the province. “We must continue to level up our facilities, and make sure that our facilities are staffed with qualified, competent and passionate health workers. We shall ensure that every medical facility has the right people in place, has enough people, happy and well-compensated”, said the governor.
Former DOH Undersecretary, Dr. Mario Villaverde, discussed the main topic of the event, the RA 11223 or the Universal Health Care Act which automatically enrolls all Filipinos in the National Health Insurance Program assuring that every Filipino shall obtain the health care they need without financial hardship. The Special Health Fund (SHF) was further discussed by Dr. Renato L. Limsiaco, SVP, Special Assignment on UHC Administration. He stressed out that the pool of financial resources to be created at the province, highly urbanized cities (HUC) and independent component cities (ICC) levels are to be used as augmentation to LGU funds for health expenditures.
To strengthen the collaboration from the different sectors in the province, the MMMH&MC, headed by the Medical Center Chief II, Dr. Maria Lourdes K. Otayza, has signed the Pledge of Commitment alongside Governor Manotoc and the different officials from the local government units, and the health leaders from the private and government health sectors to affirm their support and commitment for the full implementation of the UHC in the province.
The fruitful turnout of the summit assures everyone’s commitment towards building a strong foundation for the health system ensuring that every Filipino, and Ilocano for that matter, is guaranteed an equitable, accessible and affordable quality health care.
- Aimee Dianne B. Baguio