BATANGAS is popularly known as the province with the “ala-eh” punto in the Filipino vernacular. The said province is also the newest addition to the responsive number of local government units (LGUs) that have renewed the health insurance sponsorship of their less privileged constituents. An initial 31,568 poor families are now enjoying health insurance coverage for two years, inclusive of the extended validity period up to December 31, 2013.
At the Capitol of Batangas City recently, Governor Vilma Santos - Recto signed a Memorandum of Agreement with Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) President and CEO, Dr. Eduardo P. Banzon for the coverage of their poor constituents. PhilHealth Regional Office (PRO) IV-B Vice President Paolo Johann C. Perez and employees from the PhilHealth Central and Regional Offices were also present during the occasion.
The Batangas provincial government has targeted around 80,000 underprivileged families for the lock-in period and hopes to eventually increase the sponsorship coverage. This will reportedly be pursued after addressing details pertaining to the coverage of families listed in the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction of the Department of Social Welfare and Development. The provincial government allocated 40M for this year for the health coverage of its constituents.
"When I was still a Mayor, PhilHealth was already my partner. The good news is now that I am already the Governor, this partnership became province-wide. I personally believe that the answer to our health problems, especially among the poorest of the poor, is PhilHealth. However, I am hoping that with the increase in the payment of premium there would be a little adjustment for those Local Government Units in the province who desire to enroll or renew the membership of their underprivileged constituents but are coping with the premium increase. But I am very thankful with this partnership," said Santos.
On the other hand, Banzon assured PhilHealth members that they are about to receive more benefits and improved services. He also stressed that availment of these benefits shall be simplified and shall be made easy-to-understand, especially by the poor.
In support of PhilHealth's undertakings, the provincial government has deployed personnel to serve as information assistants in the 12 district hospitals in the province. They will assist the PhilHealth Customer Assistance, Relations and Empowerment Staff (CARES) to advocate the National Health Insurance Program among members and non-members at point-of-service. With this gesture, the province is all set to serve all PhilHealth members. (Evelyn P. de Leon; photos by Juanito G. Pineda)