Lacson blasts DOH for failing to tap P17-B PAGCOR fund for Universal Health Care Law

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 19 2020 05:00 AM

MANILA - Sen. Panfilo Lacson on Wednesday criticized the Department of Health (DOH) for failing to craft the operational guidelines that would allow the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) to remit billions of pesos to the agency for the Universal Health Care program.

Under the Universal Health Care Law, half of the national government's share from PAGCOR's income, as well as 40 percent of the charity fund of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) should be used to fund the measure that ensures that every Filipino of access to the "highest possible quality of health care" at an affordable price.

"Hindi nila nireremit kasi walang guidelines. They are waiting for DOH to finish the guidelines so they can remit the amount for UHC," Lacson said during budget debates in the Senate.

"Nanghihinayang kasi ako sa P17 billion kasi without the operational guidelines... nasa Bureau of Treasury lang 'yung remittance ng PAGCOR, 'yung share ng government," he said.

The DOH has finished drafting the guidelines but the Department of Budget Management and the Department of Finance have yet to rview the documents, said Sen. Pia Cayetano, who is defending the DOH's budget in plenary.

"Hala kayo 2019 pa ito," Lacson said.

"Dadating pa yung 2020... that's a few billions," he said.

The Universal Health Care Act was signed into law in 2019, which automatically made all Filipinos entitled to have health insurances under the Philippine Health Insurance Corp (PhilHealth).

In June, then-PhilHealth President Ricardo Morales pushed for the suspension of the Universal Health Care Act in 2021 due to the alleged lack of funds as most of the agency's budget was spent for COVID-19-related expenses.

"We were not given the subsidy that we asked. We asked for a subsidy of P150 billion for this year. We were given P71 billion. So that’s less than half," he said.


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