DOH-CAR cites health bills passed during PRRD's term

>> Tuesday, July 31, 2018

By Pamela Mariz Geminiano

BAGUIO CITY -- The Department of Health in Cordillera is happy about the large number of health bills passed during the first two years of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Dr. Amelita Pangilinan, Assistant Regional Director of DOH in the Cordillera Administrative Region, expressed this in an interview on Tuesday.
“Actually, it's not only in the President’s SONA. It was during his time when many of the Republic Acts (RA), health bills were passed into law,” Pangilinan noted on the sidelines of the Philippine National Health Research System press conference here on Tuesday.
The local health official cited, for instance, the Executive Order on anti-smoking, the lifting of the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) on Reproductive Health (RH), the implementation of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation’s (PHIC) Z-package, the ban on fireworks and pyrotechnics, the Mental Health Law, and the Universal Health Insurance.
“Ako, personally, I look at it as ang term na ito ang tuwang tuwa ako kasi ang daming naisabatas na bill and we are actually reaping the fruits of many years na pagla-lobby. Yung smoking na nga lang pati yung RPRH (Personally, I am happy because it is during this term, when there are many laws passed and we are reaping the fruits of many years of lobbying, let alone the smoking law and the Reproductive Health),” Pangilinan said.
Prior to the lifting of the TRO on RH, Pangilinan said local health officials were worried. But with the lifting of the TRO, which she said was the result of lobbying, aside the President’s expressed desire for its implementation, the DOH-CAR was able to implement its reproductive health programs.
She also noted the ban on fireworks and pyrotechnics that had led to a big drop in the number of cases of people getting injured or killed during the Christmas season.
“Talagang sa isang EO lang niya, wala na (Its just one EO from him [President Duterte] and it's gone),” she said.
Pangilinan added that Duterte's landmark Mental Health Law now provides services down to the barangay level.
“Kasi ang psychiatrist, they are only in the capital towns or cities. Ang daming mga mentally challenged na kababayan natin na nasa baba and the sorry state is they are being caged, very inhuman karkaru nu psychotic na very harmful nga agbatu (There are many mentally challenged residents in the barangays and the sorry state is that they are being caged, which is very inhuman, especially if they get harmful and throw stones),” she said.
Under the law, Pangilinan said, municipal health officers are being trained on handling mental health gaps, blood screening, and administration of medicines. She said that in Kalinga province alone, there are five registered patients who are now being assisted.
She also lauded the PHIC’s new system and reforms like the Z-package, which includes a coverage on preventive health care to prevent health complications among Filipinos.
“We all know that the driver of health reforms is insurance,” the doctor said, adding that benefits from such reforms are now being felt in the entire Cordillera region.
Pangilinan also noted a huge increase in the government's budget for health.
“Meron nang barangay health stations na malapit sa mga barangay," she said, adding there are now more local public health nurses and midwives available to the locals,”
Before, she said, Cordillerans, especially those from remote villages, still had to go to the nearest capital town for health care. Now, even birthing homes are strategically located, she said, equipped with trained midwives, supplies, and equipment.
She, however, said more needs still have to be done to meet the target of having one health worker in every barangay. --- PNA


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