Duterte admin reforms paved way for PH health system improvement: Duque

Gillan Ropero, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 31 2022 01:11 PM

President Rodrigo Duterte is accompanied by Presidential Assistant for Visayas Michael Dino following the unveiling of the dedication plate of the Malasakit Center during the launching of the Malasakit Program at the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center in Cebu City on February 12, 2018. Ace Morandante, Malacanang Photo
President Rodrigo Duterte is accompanied by Presidential Assistant for Visayas Michael Dino following the unveiling of the dedication plate of the Malasakit Center during the launching of the Malasakit Program at the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center in Cebu City on February 12, 2018. Ace Morandante, Malacanang Photo


MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte's administration paved the way for an improved healthcare system in the Philippines through two landmark laws, his health chief said Tuesday.

Duterte signed the Universal Healthcare Act in February 2019, and its implementing rules and regulations were released in October of the same year, according to Health Secretary Francisco Duque.

The health chief also touted the Malasakit Centers Act, signed February 2020, which he described as a "one-stop shop" for health concerns.

"Despite the challenges we have faced during the COVID-19 pandemic, we continue to usher in the importance of the Universal Healthcare Law and establishment of the Malasakit Centers," Duque said in his speech on the second day of the "Duterte Legacy Summit" in Pasay City. 

"The response to the COVID-19 pandemic even expedited if not catalyzed several Universal Healthcare initiatives and these initiatives further strengthen the integration of our local systems into province-wide and city-wide health systems."

Duque said the health agency was able to fund the development of the following from 2017 to 2022:

  • 1,798 local government hospitals
  • 639 DOH hospitals
  • 7,796 barangay health stations
  • 3,259 rural health units
  • 34 polyclinics
  • 14 quarantine facilities
  • 34 treatment and rehabilitation centers
  • 7 regional offices
  • 27 other national government agencies

The DOH also deployed a national health workforce support system from 2017 to 2021 and launched its telemedicine program which has so far provided some 379,000 consultations, Duque said.

"These accomplishments are a testament ot the commitment of DOH in its realization of UHC. Gradually the reforms we have set are paving the way to improve the health system in the Philippines, placing every Juan and Juana right at the center of it all," he said.

Duterte also signed an executive order reducing by 93 percent the maximum retail price of drugs, he added.

"Essential medicines can now be accessed at a much cheaper price," Duque said.

It was also under the Duterte administration that the Senate investigated alleged corruption within state insurer PhilHealth and the questionable transfer of funds from DOH to the Department of Budget and Management which were used to buy overpriced health equipment.

The Senate Committee of the Whole recommended the filing of graft and malversation charges against Duque and other executives of the state-run insurance firm after they allegedly authorized the release of COVID-19 funds to health facilities not catering to coronavirus patients.

The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, meantime, recommended the filing of charges against Duque and officials of Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp. for allegedly plundering public funds meant to address the pandemic.

Duterte "betrayed public trust" as he continued to defend the personalities "close to him" who are also linked in the deals, according to the committee chaired by outgoing Sen. Richard Gordon.

RELATED VIDEO

Watch more News on iWantTFC