TACLOBAN CITY- Congressmen from Eastern Visayas have made a request for the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (Philhealth) to waive the premium pay in the region due to the series of natural calamities to hit the area recently.
The region’s 12 solons, to include two party-list members from Eastern Visayas, made this request in a communication with Health Secretary Francisco Duque who is also the chairman of the Philhealth.
They cited the recent typhoons to hit the region that resulted in massive flooding and landslide incidents.
“Eastern Visayas is still recovering from the adverse impact of Typhoons Yolanda (2013) and Ruby (2014). Unfortunately, we again experienced heavy rains and severe flooding all across the region due to Tropical Depressions Urduja and Vinta in December (2017) and Typhoon Agaton in January this year,” the congressmen said on their letter to Duque.
“Most of our constituents have nothing left to pay for PhilHealth coverage, especially the poor farmers and fisherfolks affected by recent calamitous events,” they said.
According to them, free enrollment of health insurance will somehow lessen the burden of the people of the region, particularly those who are not yet members of Philhealth of their medical and health services.
To recall, when the region was pummeled by super typhoon Yolanda in 2013, Philhealth imposed its “All Can Avail” program wherein both members and non-members were able to avail health insurance benefits.
The special privilege policy was lifted on 2016.
Renato Limsiaco, Jr., regional vice president of PhilHealth in Eastern Visayas, said that they welcome this move of the congressmen saying this would be a big help to the medical needs of the people of the region, particularly those who are poor.
“We laud and support this move of our congressmen because this would mean our people, especially the poor, will now have access to medical services,” he said.
The policy, Limsiaco added, will also result in the achieving of their goal of a universal health coverage.
If this will be approved, about 650,000 people from the region who are not yet members of Philhealth could benefit this proposal.
At present, there are more than 1.93 million people of the region who are Philhealth-insured.
The signatories of the joint letter were congressmen Ben Evardone(Eastern Samar); Edgar Mary Sarmiento and Milagrosa Tan both of Samar; Edwin Ong and Raul Daza, both of Northern Samar; Rogelio Espina( Biliran); Roger Mercado(Southern Leyte);Yedda Romualdez, Henry Ong, Vicente Veloso, Lucy Torres, and Jose Carlos Cari, all from Leyte.
An Waray party-list Representative Victoria Noel and AANGAT Tayo! Representative Harlin Abayon III also signed the letter. (JOEY A. GABIETA)