Senator Christopher “Bong” Go on Wednesday welcomed President Duterte’s pronouncements on the deferment of the implementation of the increase in Philippine Health Insurance Corporation’s (PhilHealth) contribution rates for 2021.
“Palagi po naming inuuna ni Pangulong Duterte kung ano ang makakabuti sa nakararami — lalo na sa mga mahihirap at pinaka-nangangailangan. Kung kaya’t nagsalita na ang Pangulo na ipagpaliban muna ang pag-increase ng rates ng contributions ng PhilHealth habang meron pa tayong pandemyang kinakaharap,’’ Go said. (The President and I have always prioritized what is good for the majority — especially the poor and those who are most in need. This is the reason why the President decided to defer the implementation of the increase in PhilHealth contribution rates while the country is still facing a pandemic.)
“Inatasan ng Pangulo ang mga opisyales na siguraduhing maibigay pa rin ang serbisyong pangkalusugan na kailangan ng mga Pilipino sa paraang hindi madadagdagan ang kasalukuyang hirap na pinapasan na nila,’’ he added. (The President has instructed the [concerned] officials to ensure that health services will be provided to the Filipinos in need without burdening them further them at this time.)
On the part of the Legislature, Senate President Vicente Sotto III and House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco also said that both Houses of Congress would act immediately on calls to defer the increase on the monthly contribution rates.
According to Go, Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado and PhilHealth CEO Dante Gierran are also working on how the government could unburden Filipinos by shouldering the cost while ensuring that the UHC law is implemented and the services of PhilHealth are unhampered.
“Whether we amend the law or augment the funds of PhilHealth, let us work together to find a viable solution to achieve universal health care for all without imposing unnecessary burden to ordinary Filipinos during this challenging time,” he said.
Go had earlier appealed to government finance managers and his fellow legislators to highly consider the deferment of the increase in PhilHealth contributions to unburden Filipinos given the adverse socio-economic impacts of the health crisis.
“Hirap na po ang ating mga kababayan, huwag na natin silang mas pahirapan pa. Karamihan sa kanila ay nawalan ng trabaho. Paano natin pagbabayarin ang ordinaryong Pilipino kung nawalan po sila ng kabuhayan? Tulad ng sabi ng Pangulo,’’ he explained. (Our countrymen are already hard up, let us not make their situation harder. Most of them lost their jobs. How can an ordinary Filipino pay if he does not have an income? It is the job of the government to make it easy for everybody at this time.)
President Dutert on Monday ordered PhilHealth chief Dante Gierran to suspend the monthly premium hike amid the ongoing health crisis.
Since the increase in PhilHealth contributions is mandated by existing law, specifically the UHC law, Go said that he is currently studying possible legislative interventions to pursue the deferment at this time.
Go had suggested amending the UHC law or including a provision in the proposed Bayanihan 3 law deferring such payments while the country is in a state of national emergency.
“One option is to propose an amendatory bill that will specifically address the specific provision in the UHC law mandating the said increase,” Go said.
“Another option is to include a provision in the proposed Bayanihan 3 bill that would allow moving statutory deadlines and timelines for payments required by law such as, but not limited, to increase and payment of PhilHealth premiums,” he added.
“Gawin natin ang lahat ng ating makakaya para mapagaan ang pinapasan ng taumbayan (Let us do everything we can within our means to ease the burden of the people),” Go said.