News Release

To delay Universal Health Care implementation contradicts law – Palace


The Palace is not in favor of the call to delay the implementation of the Universal Health Care (UHC) Act as called for by the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PHilHealth) during a joint congressional committees hearing on the UHC law.

Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque Jr, in his June 18 virtual press briefing, said that suspending the implementation of the Universal Health Care is against the law. “Well, ito po’y labag sa literal na probisyon ng batas at dun po sa intensyon ng mga nagsulong ng batas na ito,” said Secretary Roque.

The Palace official, who is one of the primary authors of the UHC law in the Lower House during the 17th Congress, added, “Alam po namin nung sinulong namin ang Universal Health Care na dapat nga maisabatas yan dahil hindi sapat po ang PhilHealth para magbigay ng karapatan ng kalusugan sa lahat.”

Secretary Roque said that PhilHealth premiums will not be enough to provide universal healthcare, which is why, Roque said, the law provides for the use of the state funds if needed, to provide free medicines and free medical care for Filipinos.

“Tama po si Senator Bong Go, kung kinakailangan gagamitin natin ang bilyon-bilyon na galing po sa kaban ng bayan dahil yan naman po ay pangako ng Presidente, at isang obligasyon ng estado na ibigay ang mabuting kalusugan sa lahat ng mga mamamayan,” stressed Roque

The President’s spokesman also called on PhilHealth officials to implement the UHC law as it was a law that was certified as urgent by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.

“Ang aking panawagan sa mga namumuno po ng PhilHealth, kung hindi nyo po mapapatupad ang isang batas na sinertify urgent ng Presidente mismo, dahil ang nais nya magkaroon ng libreng gamot at libreng [pag]gamot ang lahat ng Pilipino gaya ng ginawa nya sa Davao, eh siguro po hahanap na lang po ng iba na pupwedeng magpatupad nyan,” said Roque

Secretary Roque also called on PhilHealth President and CEO Ricardo Morales to conduct administrative investigation on alleged corruption cases in the PhilHealth.

“[H]indi po tama yung sinabi ninyo habang ang mga kaso ay nakabinbin sa hukuman o Ombudsman, mayroon pa rin po kayong obligasyon at katungkulan na imbestigahan administratively yung mga taong nadedemanda sa Ombudsman dahil alam naman natin matagal po talaga ang proseso dyan sa Ombudsman. So hindi po prejudicial ang mga kasong nakasampa dahil pwede pong sabay na gawin yan,” said Sec. Roque.

Meanwhile, on the distribution of the second wave of subsidy for severely affected families by the COVID-19 pandemic, Secretary Roque announced in the same media briefing that the second tranche of the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) has already started.

“Merong 1.3 milyon na pong mga pamilya na 4Ps beneficiaries ang nakatanggap ng second tranche ng SAP. Nagsimula ng magbigay ng payout sa Benguet kasama ang Baguio City para sa additional families o waitlisted, noong Martes, June 16,” reported Secretary Roque.

The following areas are included in the second tranche of SAP distribution: Benguet, Pangasinan, Region III (except Aurora province), National Capital Region, Region IV-A, Albay Province, Iloilo, Bacolod City, Cebu Province, Zamboanga City, and Davao City. ### OPS-PCOO