ATTENDED by almost 500 participants nationwide, the Governors’ Forum recently organized by the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) in coordination with the League of Provinces of the Philippines (LPP), was a success.
Dubbed PhilHealth Forward: Governors’ Forum 2018, the event, which was held at the Blue Leaf Cosmopolitan in Quezon City, was aimed at strengthening partnerships among Local Chief Executives (LCEs) in the country as key implementers of various PhilHealth programs. This is the first Governors’ Forum organized by PhilHealth in five (5) years.
Former PhilHealth Interim / OIC President and CEO Dr. Celestina Ma. Jude P. De la Serna, who was once a chief of a district hospital in Bohol, welcomed the participants and acknowledged that “governors hold a great and big part in terms of local health delivery.” She further added that “governors are important partners in health… (kaya) dapat in coordination po ang efforts natin to provide the health services that our people deserve,” stressing the role of the governors in the implementation of the National Health Insurance Program.
Dr. Ronald Tobias, speaking on behalf of Gov. Ryan Luis Singson, President of the League of Provinces of the Philippines (LPP), underscored the significance of the Forum and the province of Ilocos Sur’s support to PhilHealth programs.
Health Secretary Dr. Francisco T. Duque III, on the other hand, inspired the crowd with his keynote message. He stressed the challenging role that PhilHealth has to fulfill amidst the call for transformation. According to Duque, “This is not a PhilHealth of mediocrity, this must be a PhilHeath that was so used to achieving trailblazing accomplishments. As you remember, PhilHealth then between 2001 and 2010, we managed to increase PhilHealth enrollment in the Indigent Sector quite tremendously, dramatically; so we want to bring back the golden era of PhilHealth, and the glorious days of PhilHealth, but it must begin with us, it must begin with each of our PhilHealth employees and officials, not left to the PhilHealth Board of Directors alone. We need the support of everyone.”
He also rallied the support of the LCEs on the proposed unification of health care fund under one system, through PhilHealth, to promote efficiency of health care access among Filipinos. Finally, he acknowledged the role of governors in the achievement of universal health care by saying that “no matter how brilliant the models are, without you, our local chief executives, our dear governors, our beloved mayors, the implementers in the local setting, all our efforts will be for naught. We count on you therefore for your support to ensure that the projects, programs and initiatives that we come up with will bring about the desired outcome for our fellow Filipinos’ health.”
Secretary Martin Andanar of the Presidential Communications Operations Office also graced the event.
Drawing inspiration among the ranks of LCEs was another highlight of the event. Testimonials were delivered by Governor Eduardo Firmalo of Romblon and Joel Mapiles representing Governor Lilia Pineda of Pampanga. Firmalo was applauded for his province’s tagline in support of PhilHeath programs: PhilHealth Saves; PhilHealth Adds Life; PhilHealth Cares; Mag-PhilHealth Na Tayo.
On the other hand, Mapiles highlighted the best practices of their health system in Pampanga and cited the gains of 11 capitol-run hospitals under Pineda’s administration with a combined net income of P1.8 billion from PhilHealth reimbursements from 2010 to March 2018.
The best practices, innovations and challenges faced by PhilHeath in the past years were presented by PhilHealth’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Ruben John A. Basa. These included efforts to achieve total client experience, improve member coverage, improve health financial risk protection, automate processes, strengthen premium collection, and achieve Universal Health Care through partnerships.
There was also an open forum to thresh out some issues pertaining to the implementation of PhilHealth programs. Duque, De la Serna, and Basa served as panelists and they were joined by Governors Yevgeny Vicente Emano of Misamis Oriental and Daisy Avance-Fuentes of South Cotabato. PhilHealth Vice President for Region III Walter Bacareza and Sandra Paredes, Executive Director of LPP, served as moderators of the open forum.
In support to the maternal and child health initiatives, a ceremonial signing of Memorandum of Agreement between PhilHealth and the Province of Quezon also took place. This is known as the First 1000 Days Program or Q1k. The program aims to provide proper care to pregnant mothers and their newborns to allow their offsprings to receive optimal health care during the first 1,000 days of life. Essentially, this initiative shall allow children of Quezon Province to receive their basic right to quality health care and the opportunity to reach their full potential, unhampered by the injurious physical and mental effects of poor nutrition and deficient medical care during the earliest days of existence.
De la Serna and Governor David Suarez of Quezon Province signed the MoA, while PhilHealth Regional Vice President for Region IV-A Dr. Elizabeth Fernandez and Quezon Provincial Administrator Romulo M. Edaño witnessed the signing ceremony.
Provinces represented in the event were Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union, Pangasinan, Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino, Cagayan, Abra, Benguet, Ifugao, Mt. Province, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Tarlac, Cavite, Laguna, Quezon, Rizal, Marinduque, Occidental Mindoro, Palawan, Romblon, Camarines Norte, Capiz, Negros Occidental, Bohol, Northern Samar, Southern Leyte, Zamboanga Sibugay, Zamboanga Del Norte, Camiguin, Lanao Del Norte, Misamis Oriental, Compostela Valley, South Cotabato, Cotabato, Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, Lanao del Sur, and Maguindanao.
The event was also graced by provincial health officers all over the country; PhilHealth Board of Directors Dr. Roberto Salvador and Dr. Roy B. Ferrer, now PhilHealth Acting President and Chief Executive Officer; PhilHealth Officers and employees from central and regional offices; members of the media and other guests.
The press was also given a chance to meet the Health Secretary and key PhilHealth Officers to shed light on some issues through a press conference. Panelists were Duque, Basa, Gregorio C. Rulloda, OIC-Senior Vice President for Fund Management Sector; Nerissa Santiago, OIC-SVP for Actuarial Services and Risk Management Sector; and Dr. Israel Francis A. Pargas, OIC-SVP for Health Finance Policy Sector and PhilHealth’s Official Spokesperson.
The Governors’ Forum 2018 is part of the PhilHealth’s 23rd anniversary celebration which kicked off on February 14. (END) (Servillano G. Medina)
Reference: Dr. Israel Francis A. Pargas, OIC-SVP, Health Finance Policy Sector (Mobile: 0917-8089399)