Press Briefing

Economic Press Briefing with Department of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, Department of Budget and Management Undersecretary Tina Rose Marie Canda and PCOO Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy

Event Press Briefing
Location Malacañang Press Briefing Room, New Executive Building

ROCKY IGNACIO/PTV4:  Magandang umaga sa Malacañang Press Corps at sa ating mga bisita, welcome po sa weekly economic forum dito sa Malacañang, kasama natin ngayong araw si PCOO Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy. Good morning… 

USEC. BADOY:  Good morning Malacañang Press Corps and good morning whole country; and good morning Secretary, good morning Undersecretary.

Welcome to the sixth weekly economic briefing hosted by the Economic Development Team of the Duterte administration and of the PCOO. Today, we will be discussing an issue that affects all of us – our health.

The government takes this matter seriously in its effort to build an inclusive and sustainable economy for the present and future generations of Filipinos. Part of the 10-point socio-economic agenda of the President, is to invest in human capital development and provide a better quality of life for all Filipinos. To achieve the goal of a more comfortable life for all, we need to make sure that efficient, adequate and affordable health services can be availed of by each and every Filipino – no one excluded.

This is supported by the Universal Healthcare Bill or UHC. Once passed, UHC shall give all Filipinos better access to healthcare – most especially to the poorest of the poor. The House of Representatives approved its version of the UHC bill, September of last year; and Senate’s version is now in the pipeline.

During the last SONA, our President who champions UHC emphasized his wholehearted support for the passage of this bill. Wide coverage of basic health services will be made available via UHC, and this means that the government will need about 305 billion pesos to fund the program. Revenues collected from proposed reforms in sin taxes and mining taxes will provide additional funding for the UHC.

Government believes that access to health services besides being a basic human right, is an investment in our people that will help sustain the country’s fast economic growth. This is just one of the many committed efforts of the Duterte administration in taking care of the public we serve and securing our country for future generations of Filipinos.

So without further ado, may I introduce—may I welcome and introduce the Department of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III and Undersecretary Tina Canda of the DBM.

SEC. DUQUE III:  Good morning and thank you very much PCOO Usec. Lorraine Badoy and also joining me here is the Usec. of DBM, Tina Canda; and also the officials of DBM and the DOH. And above all, I think our media representatives; supporters of the DOH and of course all other agencies of the Duterte administration.

I would like to take this opportunity to talk about the Universal Healthcare Bill. In his State of the Nation Address, President Rodrigo Duterte certified the Universal Healthcare Bill as an urgent priority of the government. It reflects the commitment of this administration to ensure that Filipinos live a good, comfortable and productive life. The next few slides will highlight key provisions of the UHC:

First, for healthcare financing – The UHC Bill clarifies which services are to be paid for by the DOH, the local government units and PhilHealth. We therefore proposed that population-based services are financed by the DOH and LGUs, while medical services or what we call individual-based services are financed through a national purchaser which is our PhilHealth. This means that all funds intended for medical services are pooled into PhilHealth, thus also allowing them to have adequate negotiating power over healthcare providers and selectively contract those who abide by agreed quality and cost containments.

To attain/sustain 100% population coverage, the proposal is to simplify PhilHealth membership into two types: first is contributory; second, non-contributory – whereby all Filipinos who are not formally employed or remitting taxes are automatically considered non-contributory members and thereby whose premium shall automatically be subsidized by the national government. This will replace the current point of care and point of service enrollment.

Next: In terms of service delivery, the UHC Bill shall make primary care a pre-requisite for accessing higher levels of care by ensuring that PhilHealth pays for primary care services; and that, secondary and tertiary care are reimbursed only when appropriate – thereby driving consolidation of healthcare providers into networks that practice gatekeeping and referral. In order for the public sector to use its PhilHealth revenues to improve the health system further, government health facilities and network shall be allowed to retain their health income into a special health fund.

Third: Through stronger health regulations, the UHC Bill seeks to ensure that prices of goods and services are transparent and co-payments are fixed or predictable. Together with the Insurance Commission, the DOH intends to ensure complimentarity of Private Health Insurance (PHIs) and Health Maintenance Organizations or the HMOs, plans to ensure financial protection for all Filipinos. The bill also proposes to ensure regular flow of health workers by requiring a two-year return service to under-served and Geographically Isolated and Disadvantaged Area or the GIDA commonly referred to, for all health and allied health professional graduating from public schools. This is similar to what other ASEAN countries have done to address inadequate and mal-distribution of health workers.

And fourth: Recognizing that this administration weighs heavily on good governance and accountability, the bill proposes to institutionalize reforms that will ensure better health sector performance. Submission of health and financial data to ensure accountability by all key players in the health sector shall be mandated. Furthermore, health technology assessment shall be required prior to making decisions on what the government should or should not fund.

Finally: The PhilHealth Board Membership which is currently is a 17-person board will be reduced to 11, as we proposed this in the UHC Bill.

In summary, UHC aims to realize the right of every Filipino to health. As such, the bill provides the health system architecture needed to achieve universal healthcare which guarantees the following: First, this ensures all Filipino families are enrolled in PhilHealth and protecting them from impoverishing cost of medical care; Second, it strengthens primary healthcare by matching families to a primary care provider that will ensure they get the appropriate health services that they need at the appropriate health facilities; Third, it improves access to health services by ensuring the availability of medicines, health-human resources and health facilities to all Filipinos; And lastly, strengthening the capacity of government to regulate and exercise its policy-making and government’s function to protect Filipinos and ensure that they have access to the best quality of care.

Next slide: Funding Universal Healthcare requires significant investment from the government. And based on our latest estimates, the incremental cost requirement will be roughly at about 135.56 billion pesos for the first year, ramping or increasing all the way to 256.31 billion pesos on the fourth year. The key cost driver here is healthcare financing – to provide for premium subsidies and primary care capitation for the Filipinos who need it most.

And I would like to highlight however, that investing in UHC is actually a wise investment, because it is investing in our people. Aside from the benefit of a healthier and more productive population, UHC is a key to reducing poverty in our country thus protecting Filipinos from the high cost of care. And to make UHC feasible, we are looking at the proposed increased in tobacco tax. The DOH is currently supporting the proposal of increasing tobacco excise tax at 90 pesos per pack. At this rate, we estimate an incremental increase in revenues of roughly about 37.2 billion.

This will be used to augment the budget From General Appropriations Act for funding of UHC, particularly to cover the premium payments of the non-contributory sector. The proposed increase in tobacco taxes is a win-win for the health of Filipinos. Not only will it increase the funding to finance UHC, tobacco taxes are also estimated to reduce and I repeat, to reduce smoking prevalence from 15.7—rather this will bring down smoking prevalence down to 15.7 percent from 21.6 percent according to the global adult tobacco survey of 2015, thereby translating into lower number of cases of cancer and non-communicable diseases which are the leading causes of mortality and morbidity in the country. So on this note, I’d like to thank you all and I am very glad to welcome or to answer questions from our media representatives. Thank you.

ROCKY IGNACIO/PTV4: Yes. Can we have Usec. Canda first?

USEC. CANDA: No, I don’t have any opening remarks.

ALVIN BALTAZAR/RADYO PILIPINAS: Secretary Duque, good morning po.

SEC. DUQUE: Good morning.

ALVIN/RADYO PILIPINAS: Sec., hindi kasi ako familiar doon sa pagkakaltas doon sa Phil Health. Sir, magtataas ba ng kaltas o sa monthly deduction ng mga empleyado tungkol doon sa PhilHealth na sinisingil?

SEC. DUQUE: Well, for the—doon sa formal sector, doon sa mga empleyado ng gobyerno at empleyado ng mga pribadong mga korporasyon ay nagtaas na ang PhilHealth – sa kauna-unahang pagkakataon sa buong kasaysayan ng PhilHealth – nagtaas po ng .25 percent which is really miniscule. Napakaliit po nito, considering na ang benefit payout ng PhilHealth ay patuloy na tumaas na ng tumaas. In fact last year, ang halos benefit payout ng PhilHealth para sa mga serbisyong ibinigay ng ating mga member health care provider institutions ay umabot na sa 107 to a 110 billion pesos – an outlay of about roughly 1.8 billion per week last year. And yet the premium contribution has really increased in very, very nominal; very small amounts.

ALVIN/RADYO PILIPINAS: Pero magkano in particular, Sec., at saka kapag ka naging law na iyong UHC, magtataas pa ba?

SEC. DUQUE: Well, ang—sa subsidized sector ng PhilHealth, ito iyong para sa ating mga mahihirap na kababayan, ang amin pong iminungkahing premium payment is 3,500 per family, pero ang inaprubahan lamang for 2019 ay 2,400 pesos. So mayroon pang puwang o kakulangan sa pagpondo ng kanilang membership, iyong subsidized none-contributing sector of the population. Pero ang—kasi ang increase naman depende iyan sa suweldo mo. May cap tayo hanggang 40,000 but for next year may mungkahi ang PhilHealth na itaas iyong ceiling to a 100,000 pesos. So ngayon iyong hatian – 2.75 percent premium contribution, 50 percent of which will come from the employer and the other 50 percent from the employee through payroll deduction.

ALVIN/RADYO PILIPINAS: Secretary, lilinawin ko lang doon sa pagtataas ng tobacco excise tax. Kapag naging batas na itong Universal Health Care, magtataas din ba ng presyo ng bawat pakete ng sigarilyo?

SEC. DUQUE: Oo naman.

ALVIN/RADYO PILIPINAS: Magkano ang itataas ng projection ng—

SEC. DUQUE: Well, depende iyan sa desisyon ng Kongreso. Kasi ngayon may panukala si Senator Manny Pacquiao na 60 pesos ang karagdagang buwis na ipapataw sa bawat pakete ng sigarilyo, samantalang ang panukala naman ni Senator JV Ejercito ay 90 pesos. Kung—sa kasalukuyan kasi ang itinaas lamang under TRAIN1, implementation of TRAIN1 ay 2 pesos and 50 centavos lang. So ang tax for 2018 naging 35.50, so ang magiging presyo ng isang—o bawat pakete ng sigarilyo ay 48.26 under the TRAIN1.

Pero kung maipapasa at sana naman maipasa ang 90 pesos na panukala ni Senator JV Ejercito ay malaking tulong po ito sa pagtustos ng atin na programang PhilHealth para sa lahat ng Pilipino ay magkakaroon po tayo ng proceeds of about 45 billion, 2 million pesos. At malaking bahagi nito mapupunta po sa pagpondo ng PhilHealth para doon po sa ating mga mahihirap na walang kakayahang magbayad ng kanilang pagiging miyembro. At doon naman sa malaking bahagi, 85 percent of the incremental proceeds will go to health and 80 percent of the 85 percent share of the health sector doon pupunta sa PhilHealth at iyon namang bente porsiyento ay para mapondohan ang ating mga health facilities enhancement program kung saan may malaking kakulangan at pagpondo din ng ating medical assistance to indigent patients program.

ALVIN/RADYO PILIPINAS:  Thank you, Secretary.

SEC. DUQUE: Salamat din.

CHRISTINE AVENDAÑO/PDI: Hi sir, we’re just—hindi ba we just completed iyong TRAIN 1 and then we are now into TRAIN 2. So it’s not a separate tax measure sir, I mean for the tobacco?

SEC. DUQUE:  Yes, I believed so. It is a separate measure, and the objective is really to increase taxes on same products with ultimate or end-in-view of reducing the smoking prevalence in the country. And our target is to really bring it down to the 14 percent level of smoking prevalence from a high of 21.47 percent. Pero iyong 21.47 percent bumaba na rin iyan kasi nagkaroon na rin tayo ng sin tax. I think in 2013 ‘no. So patuloy na bumababa ang prevalence smoking—smoking prevalence rate ng Pilipinas.

CHRISTINE/PDI: Sir, anong mas mauuna iyong Universal Health Care or iyong tobacco tax? Mayroon bang—did you get any assurance from—you know Congress, kung ano iyong uunahin doon?

SEC. DUQUE: Mahirap pangunahan ang ano mang magiging pasya o desisyon ng Congress. Pero ito lang ang masasabi ko, ang UHC Bill ay mayroon na kaming sulat sa Pangulo na ito ay mabigyan ng—certified as an urgent priority bill. So ito naman ay kaniyang ibinukang bibig sa kaniyang nakaraang SONA. So gauging it or basing it on his articulations during the SONA, I would like to believe that this will be passed by Congress.

CHRISTINE/PDI: So iyong Universal Health Care is really relying on the excise tax on tobacco to fund iyong mga requirements?

SEC. DUQUE: Malaking bahagi ho ng ating Universal Health Care Bill sa amin pong Executive version ng panukalang ito, ay hindi lang doon manggagaling. Manggagaling din iyan sa mga iba pang mga buwis na kinokolekta ng gobyerno. Ngunit hindi maiiwasan na ang pagtustos ng Universal Health Care Bill ay manggagaling din sa incremental tax increases. So that’s where we are.

ROCKY IGNACIO/PTV4: May tanong po si Aileen Taliping. Dahil plano ninyong magdagdag ng excise tax sa tobacco, ano daw po ang nangyari sa smoking ban ni Pangulong Duterte, kasi hanggang ngayon daw po ay marami pa ring naninigarilyo sa publiko at tila walang napaparusahan? Kumusta na raw po ang monitoring ng DOH sa smoking ban?

SEC. DUQUE: Well, ito iyong patungkol sa EO 26 na nilagdaan ni Pangulong Duterte noong 2017 – 2017 ba, Dr. Maricar? 2017. So ang mga local government units, sila ang mag-i-implement/magpapatupad nitong EO ni Pangulong Duterte. At kami, uumpisahan pa lang natin ang monitoring and impact assessment kung ano na ba ang nangyari. Pero sa ngayon kasi, hindi ko naman napaghandaan so wala akong datos na magpapakita kung epektibo ba ang EO na ito in terms of implementation sa pagsasakatuparan nito. So ito ay puwedeng sagutin natin sa mga susunod na panahon.

ROCKY IGNACIO/PTV4: Sir, maiiba lang ang tanong. Kasi may nagpahabol dito, si Rose Novenario: Ano na daw po ang update sa Dengvaxia?

SEC. DUQUE: Well, ang update sa Dengvaxia – ang Pangulo ay inatasan ang Gabinete na aprubahan nga iyong pagbubuo ng expert panel. At mayroon nga kaming ibinigay na listahan, sinumite sa CabSec. At ang balita ko sa kasalukuyan, ang listahan ng mga eksperto mula sa ASEAN member countries na nagpatupad ng Dengvaxia immunization program, although limited to the private sector. Kasi tandaan natin, sa Pilipinas, ito po ay isinulong hindi lang sa pribadong sektor kung hindi pati na rin sa public sector. In fact, tayo ang may pinakamalaking bilang ng mga nabakunahan ng Dengvaxia.

So ang mga dokumento, ang mga terms of reference, ang listahan ng mga experts sa kasalukuyan ay nasa lamesa na raw ni Executive Secretary Medialdea.

ROCKY IGNACIO/PTV4: Okay, maraming salamat, Secretary Duque.

SEC. DUQUE: Madagdag ko lang, I hope you don’t mind, sa Senado—sa Mababang Kapulungan ay naipasa na ang Dengvaxia supplemental budget, ngunit sa Senado ngayon ay kanilang pinag-uusapan at binabalangkas, at hopefully ito ay maipasa na sa lalong madaling panahon dahil isa rin po ito sa mga batas o sa mga panukala na sinertify (certified) ng ating Pangulo as urgent.

CHRISTINE AVENDAÑO/PDI: Secretary, what do you think of the speech of the President last night where he, you know, he said he’s considering quitting and he wants to retire? I mean, has he, you know, parang do you think he’s serious about it, being part of his Cabinet?

SEC. DUQUE: Well, it’s not the first time the President has said that. I think to me, it’s really just venting out, sometimes out of exhaustion, sometimes out of frustrations. You know, he expresses some of those frustrations even during the Cabinet meetings, you know, the fight against corruption, fight against illegal drugs and the crime that is attached to it – the criminal acts, rather, attached to it. So I guess it’s, you know, just venting out.

Anybody, you know, we all get to our own residence and we vent-out to our poor wives and to our children; sometimes “Hay naku, ang hirap naman ng trabaho sa opisina, sa DOH walang tigil ang problemang ating dapat solusyunan.” But I think the President has manifested on the other hand a sheer political will to take on a lot of really very difficult issues that have not been addressed as adequately as he is addressing them today.

So I think the President needs all the support that he can muster. You know, it’s wrong to think that the President is going to solve all the problems for us. I think, please disabused our minds, we need everyone, you know, in government to really rally behind and support the government in all of his substantive initiatives. Lahat na po ng kaniyang ginagawa, sa kalusugan, itong Universal Health Care Bill, mukhang ito po ay magiging legacy bill ng Presidente. So dapat suportahan ng ating Kongreso – maipasa ito sa lalong madaling panahon. At sa marami pang aspeto ng pamunuan at ng ating gobyerno, makikita naman natin na talagang isinusulong ang mga makabuluhan at makahulugang programa na siyang susi sa ating pag-unlad bilang isang bansa.

At nananawagan tayo bilang … ako naman, ang kaniyang kalihim sa kalusugan ay dapat pag-ibayuhin natin ang kalusugan ng ating mga kababayan. At ito po ang tinatawag nating health among others is a driver of genuine social transformation. So kaya itong UHC, iyon ang objective natin – maging malusog ang pinakamaraming mamamayan natin sa Pilipinas.

CHONA YU/RADYO INQUIRER: Sir, since kayo iyong Health Secretary, kasama ba kayo sa nagtse-check sa health condition ni Presidente? And also, ano po ang inyong assessment sa health condition ni Presidente?

SEC. DUQUE: Every time I attend the Cabinet meetings of the President ‘no, ang masasabi ko lang, he is full of life, very active, very sharp and obviously, it does not suggest na parang may problema sa kaniyang kalusugan. Ang masasabi lang natin, mukhang malakas si Presidente. At nakikita mo naman, he is almost everywhere all the time. ‘Di ba?

So kami nga ang medyo parang nanghihina pa kung titingnan ko bilang isang doktor iyong mga ibang miyembro ng Gabinete. Pero si Presidente tuwid na tuwid ang tayo at kapag nagsasalita at nagbibigay ng kaniyang mga utos ay talagang makikita mong masiglang-masigla.

HANNAH SANCHO/DZAR: Hi, sir. Good morning. Sir, si Finance Secretary Dominguez, sinaggest (suggested) niya kanina sa isang presscon na pinagbabakasyon po niya si Pangulong Duterte. Kayo po ba, sir, gusto ninyo ba ganoon din po iyong ia-advise ninyo po kay Pangulo, since …

SEC. DUQUE: Sa bandang huli, si Presidente lang. It’s wrong to second guess the President. So let’s leave it to him if he wants to go on a break then let’s respect it. I’m not in a position to make any recommendation, at least in so far as I am concerned.

ROCKY IGNACIO/PTV4: Okay. Sir, last question, sir, kay Tuesday Niu: May figure na raw po kayo, ng DOH, about ng mga biktima ng leptospirosis sa National Capital Region? At kung sapat daw po ang mga gamot?

SEC. DUQUE: As of leptospirosis reporting number 40, which means morbidity week 40, we have 1,121 lepto cases. And we have, unfortunately, 100 deaths. And it’s very unfortunate because ito po ay dapat na madaling maiwasan na sakit.

Paulit-ulit po nating ibinibigay ang abiso, panuntunan ng Department of Health kung papaano maiiwasan ito. Ngunit hindi rin naman natin—we cannot also help that maraming mga panahon na nagpa-flash floods na ang mga tao ay nasa labas na at hindi naman makakuha ng bota para sa karagdagang proteksiyon sa kanilang mga paa dahil alam po natin na ang lepto ay nakukuha po ito kapag nakontamina ng ihi ng daga ang tubig baha – so mayroon naman tayong prophylaxis, so patuloy naman ang pagbibigay natin ng prophylaxis.

Ako nga ay dumalaw sa mga evacuation center ng Marikina, sa Malanday Public Elementary School at ganoon din po sa Barangay Silangan ng Quezon City. At doon ay nagbigay po tayo ng stocks of Doxycycline and other antibiotics where Doxycycline is contraindicated. For example, pregnant women and children below eight years of age, mayroon po tayong mga replacement antibiotics, masiguro lang na hindi humantong sa malubhang komplikasyon ang kanilang lepto.

So iyan po ang ginagawa natin, minu-monitor po ng ating DOH-National Capital Region at katuwang po rito ang ating mga city health officers ng mga siyudad sa buong Kamaynilaan.

ROCKY IGNACIO: Okay, maraming salamat po. Maraming salamat MPC, no more questions? Okay, maraming salamat, Secretary Duque; salamat po, Usec. Canda; salamat, Usec. Badoy.


Source: News and Information Bureau-Data Processing Center