Sotto files bill requiring government officials to submit annual health report

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 10 2020 05:55 PM | Updated as of Sep 10 2020 05:57 PM

Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III presides over the Senate session on September 8, 2020. Joseph Vidal, Senate PRIB

MANILA - Senate President Vicente Sotto III has filed a bill mandating all government officials to annually submit a medical certificate to prove that they are still fit to work.

Under Sotto's Fit-to-Work Act, administrative charges may be filed against officials who fail to submit their medical certificates annually.

"Intelligence and skills alone are not enough to carry out this sworn duty," Sotto said in the explanatory note of Senate Bill No. 1818.

"A good state of health is of equal importance and [a] critical factor in discharging one's function, yet [it is] often overlooked," he said.

Under the proposal, all medical certificates of public officials may be "inspected and reproduced" up to 10 days since the document was submitted.

The "inspection and reproduction" of laboratory tests, however, remain confidential in respect of an individual's right to privacy, according to the bill.

"Any person requesting a copy of the said document shall be required to state its purpose, which must be lawful, and to pay a reasonable fee to cover its reproduction and mailing costs," it said.

The medical certificates "may be destroyed" after the 10-day period "unless needed in an ongoing investigation."

Sotto's bill was filed weeks after several Philippine Health Insurance Corp (PhilHealth) officials excused themselves from attending a Senate investigation, citing their health conditions.

Last month, several groups renewed their clamor for the release of President Rodrigo Duterte's medical records after the chief executive said that he was "nearing stage 1 cancer."