SENATOR Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada has proposed the approval of a legislation requiring all health institutions in the country to extend free services to indigent and street children in need of immediate medical and dental treatment.
Estrada noted that despite the enactment of the Anti-Hospital Deposit law, some hospitals continue to demand advance payment as a prerequisite for administering basic emergency care.
“We should put an end to such practice by providing a law that would require both private and public hospitals and clinics to render free medical and dental services to indigent children and penalize those who will violate such requirement,” he said.
“Only through a concrete legislative measure can we fully realize the principles and policies sought to be affected by the various laws protecting the rights of the child,” Estrada added.
The senator, in filing Senate Bill No. 1107 or the proposed Indigent Children Free Medical and Dental Service Act, cited Article XV, Section 3 (2) of the Constitution and PD 603 or the Child and Youth Welfare Code on the Rights of the Child that ensure the rights of all children in the country without distinction and discrimination.
Proposed to be covered in Estrada’s bill are those 18 years old and below who have no visible means of support or whose parents or guardians have no means of providing for their immediate medical and dental needs.
Under the bill, all hospitals, medical and dental centers, clinics and other health institutions that provide frontline medical services throughout the country will be mandated to provide free medical treatment and dental healthcare to indigent children.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) shall determine if the child is indigent while the Department of Health (DOH) shall coordinate with the implementation of free medical and dental services for indigent children.