Koronadal City—South Cotabato is one of 33 provinces in the country as an advanced site to implement the newly signed Universal Health Care Law.
Dr. Alah Baby Vingno, Assistant Provincial Health Officer, confirmed the launching of UHC in South Cotabato in September this year.
“The initial step is to submit the draft resolution which signifies the commitment of the provincial government in the implementation of the program,” Vingno said.
The Department of Health identified South Cotabato as pilot areas of UHC because “the area/s (were chosen based on) the likelihood of success and….willingness among the local executives to participate in the concept of the Universal Health Care, DOH said in a statement appeared in Manila Bulletin.
“The integral part of the law is the referral system and South Cotabato has a strong referral system among hospitals and rural health units. This is the reason why we are chosen to implement the law in advance.
UHC requires an LGU with a comprehensive and coordinated LGU to test the model. South Cotabato passed the criteria and is a pilot area of the Service Delivery Network (SDN), a major consideration in choosing the pilot areas.
Under the law, a special health fund will be established. Funds from Philheath, DOH, PAGCOR, and other resources will be channeled through the special health fund. The governor, who sits as the chairman of the health board, has the authority on how to prioritize the fund.
Vingno, however, said that UHC is mainly helpful to the poor Filipinos who would avail the primary health packages, like doctor consultation up to certain disease, but the law is not exactly free hospitalization.
“Hindi ito mangyayari but we have no balance billing especially to our sponsored indigents but again this is only to those who are at the basic hospital accommodation,” Vingno said.
Vingno said UHC aims to encourage Filipinos to make use of the law to have yearly medical consultation to prevent chronic diseases.