News Release

More hospitals provide free medicines to poor Filipinos – Palace

Good news for the underprivileged!

Malacañang announced on Monday, August 14, that more public hospitals are providing free medicines for underprivileged patients.

Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has signed a Memorandum of Agreement with Jose Reyes Memorial Hospital, East Avenue Medical Center, Lung Center of the Philippines, Philippine Children’s Hospital, and San Lazaro Hospital to implement the Libreng Gamot Para sa Masa Program (Lingap), which entitle poor patients to free medicine assistance.

With the addition of these five hospitals, the DSWD now has a total of 11 partner hospitals implementing the government’s pro-poor healthcare program.

“A total of P96,659,339.76 has already been given to 13,142 indigent patients by the initial six partner hospitals located in regions III, VI, VII, XI and NCR,” said Abella at a press briefing in Malacañang.

North Korean-Guam crisis

On another issue, Abella commended the Philippine consulate in Guam for its contingency plan to secure Filipinos in case of military escalation between the United States and North Korea.

“We ask all Filipinos in Guam and Korea and their families here to inform DFA or our consular officials of their whereabouts,” he said.

“Also at the same time, we continue to enjoin all concerned parties to desist from threats and military action and we enjoin all sides to start talks, which should be greatly facilitated by an end to missile test and attack threats,” he added.

Bird flu outbreak

With regards to Department of Agriculture’s ban on fowl shipments from Luzon, Abella said the government’s first concern is the safety of consumers and citizens.

He noted that as of this time, there is no indication that the strain of avian flu is harmful to humans but gave an assurance that the government will continue to validate information and take all necessary precaution.

“Our long-term concern is to sustain and support our local poultry industry as it weathers this first time crisis. We will work closely with them to eliminate this problem soonest and to restore our country’s chicken exports to their premium position in international markets,” he said.

Marawi update

In connection with the Marawi crisis, the Palace condemned the possible use of hostages as suicide bombers by the Maute group.

“We strongly denounce these desperate actions which apparently are carefully calculated to create violent reaction from the general populace in order to create tension between ethnic groups, which the terrorist groups expect to work in favor of their cause,” Abella said.

At the same time, he assured the people that government forces will continue to abide by the rules of engagement to ensure the safety of hostages particularly women and children in efforts to clear Marawi of all armed elements.

In the same press briefing, AFP Spokesperson Brigadier General Restituto Padilla Jr. said local executives and religious leaders gathered in Iligan City to discuss the rehabilitation of the city.

“We are looking forward to the formalization of the commitment of 41 local executives in denouncing and providing a resolution — a joint resolution against the extremism, radicalism — violent extremist and radicalism, which is actually targeted at potential efforts of the current rebel groups inside Marawi from building back again or rising again,” said Padilla.

The military wants to see a resolution within the week, Padilla said adding the move is a very positive step towards inoculating Marawi from violent extremism as well as building it back better.

Padilla also belied reports that soldiers are involved in looting and murder advising the public not to believe the false news being circulated.

Reports saying that the conflict in Marawi is aimed at taking back people’s land to be part of a military reservation is also not true, according to Padilla.

Also during the press briefing, Office of Civil Defense (OCD) Assistant Secretary Kristoffer James Purisima reported that last August 12, the National Response Cluster led by the Department of Social Welfare and Development officially turned over its responsibilities and authority to the Task Force through Task Force Executive Director Undersecretary Cesar Yano.

After the transition, the Task Force shall realign the clusters to the different sub-committees of the Task Force under Administrative Order 3. Yano made an assurance that various sectors will continue to work together towards rebuilding Marawi City and other affected areas, according to Purisima.

Also, Purisima said the Department of Trade and Industry continuously provides goods as well as gasoline to be used by traders in Marawi City.

The sub-committee on business and livelihood is exploring the possibility of constructing a public market inside the transitional shelter site to cater for the needs of both the traders and internally displaced persons (IDPs).

Meanwhile, the OCD, in coordination with the LGUs continues to provide assistance in various municipalities in Lanao provinces, Purisima reported.

A mobile water treatment and purification system was delivered and installed at Balo-i. This equipment can provide around 75 cubic meters per hour of potable water to the IDPs.

DSWD has provided more than P210 million worth of food and non-food items to its response clusters and field offices responding to the Marawi conflict.

For the cost of assistance, the DSWD, OCD, DOH, LGU, and international and non-government organization have released more than P286 million worth of support to the affected families. ### PND