Jinggoy urges LGUs: Provide free medicines for poor

(POLITIKO) Senator Jinggoy Estrada advocates for free medicines for the underprivileged, proposing a bill compelling local government units to allocate part of their national tax allotment, addressing the struggle of indigent patients who face financial constraints in obtaining prescribed medications.

  • Senator Jinggoy Estrada introduces Senate Bill No. 1029, urging local government units to utilize a portion of their national tax allotment to provide free medicines for economically disadvantaged patients.
  • The bill aims to address the financial burden on indigent individuals who, despite accessing free consultations and hospitalization, struggle to afford prescribed medications.
  • Estrada emphasizes the need to curb the rising costs of medicines in the Philippines, proposing measures to ensure transparency and prevent abuse in the acquisition and distribution of free medicines.

Senator Jinggoy Estrada has filed a bill that proposes that poor patients get free medicines that should be funded by a portion of the national tax allotment (NTA) of all local government units (LGUs).

“Kadalasang libre ang konsultasyon at hospitalization sa mga pampublikong ospital, health care centers o clinics,” said Estrada.

“Pero nawawalan naman ng saysay ang pagkunsulta nila sa mga doktor o pagpapagamot dahil sa kakapusan sa pambili ng mga inireseta sa kanila na mga gamot,” he lamented.

The senator explained this is the reason he filed Senate Bill No. 1029 which proposes to require LGUs to earmark a portion of their NTAs for free medicines to be distributed to the public hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, or other outlets to indigent patients in their localities.

Estrada also pointed out that the prices of medicines are five to 30 percent higher in the Philippines compared to other Asian countries.

The lawmaker assured that he also placed safeguards in the bill against possible abuse.

Estrada proposed that imprisonment of two to seven years be meted against those who will manufacture a list or issue certifications to fake indigent patients.

He added that the same penalty will be imposed against those involved in irregularities in the acquisition and distribution of free medicines.