PhilHealth members need not worry about paying a higher fee for their contributions this year as President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, in his latest Talk-to-the-People Address on January 4, 2021, ordered the Philippine Health Corporation to defer this year’s contribution hike.
“Sabi ng Presidente, walang pagtataas sa kontribusyon na mangyayari sa gitna ng pandemya. At maghahanap ng pondo ang pamahalaan para marecover ang scheduled hike na nakasaad sa batas,” said Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque Jr during a press briefing in Malacañang on January 5.
Secretary Roque, who is a primary author of the Universal Health Care bill in the Lower House during the 17th Congress, explained that it is really up to the government to supply whatever is lacking from the PhilHealth fund if the members’ premium contributions are not enough.
“Kaya nga po ang tawag dyan Universal Health Care. Hindi po natin inaasa yan, ang buhay ng libreng paggamot at libreng gamot, sa mga premiums lamang. Kung kulang po ang premiums talaga pong tutustusan ng gobyerno. Kaya po Universal Health Care at hindi medical insurance ang tawag sa PhilHealth,” said Secretary Roque.
During the President’s talk last night, the Chief Executive also commented on the issue with the Presidential Security Group (PSG). Sec. Roque said, “Para kay Presidente, itong bagay pong ito, to quote, ‘is a matter of self-preservation.’”
On irregularities in the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), President Duterte asked BIR Commissioner Atty. Caesar Dulay to review and shuffle the agency’s personnel. PRRD also warned and reminded travelers who skip protocols and avoid quarantine and testing requirements with the help of airport and seaport personnel, to not do it to avoid the consequences of doing so.
On another matter, President Duterte signed Republic Act No. 11509 or the “Doktor Para sa Bayan Act”, which establishes Medical Scholarship and Return Service program for deserving students who want to study Medicine.
“Binibigyang prayoridad ng batas na ito ang mga kwalipikadong aplikante sa mga bayan na walang doktor ng gobyerno or government physicians para matiyak na magkaroon ng at least one doctor bawat munisipalidad sa bansa,” said Sec. Roque.
Also signed by the President is Republic Act No. 11510 or the law on Alternative Learning Systems for Basic Education for out-of-school children in special cases and adults, including indigenous peoples. This law guarantees equitable access for all learners, including learners living in far-flung areas and in conflict-affected communities.
President Duterte also signed Republic Act No. 11511, which amended Section 2 of Republic Act No. 10068 or the Organic Agriculture Act of 2010. Section 2 was updated and added the increase in the income of farmers and the promotion of food self-sufficiency in the Declaration of Policy.
“Panghuli, pinirmihan ni Pangulo ang Republic Act No. 11517, kung saan pinahihintulutan ang Presidente ng Pilipinas na pabilisin ang processing at issuance ng national at local permits, licenses, certifications sa panahon ng national emergency,” said Roque.
This includes the acceleration and streamlining of regulatory processes and procedures for new and pending applications and renewals of permits, licenses, clearances, among others, including the suspension and the waiving of requirements in securing the said documents. “Eto po yung Anti-Red Tape law,” Roque remarked.
In the same press briefing, National Action Plan against COVID-19 deputy chief implementer Secretary Vivencio “Vince” Dizon said that from December 22 when the first travel ban was issued until January 3, there are now a total of 3, 684 arrivals of which 74 individuals tested positive and 3,610 tested negative, or 2 percent positivity rate. Sec. Dizon also said that there are 120 hotels that can accommodate arriving passengers for them to complete the mandatory 14-day facility-based quarantine period that is being implemented to prevent the new coronavirus strain from entering the country. ### OPS-PCOO