Press Release
February 22, 2018


SENATOR JV Ejercito on Thursday resumed in the City of Davao the series of public consultation on the Universal Health Care (UHC) measures.

Ejercito who chairs the Senate Committee on Health and Demography underscored the importance of holding public consultations in key areas. Said hearing is the second to be held outside of Senate, the first one was in Cebu City in February.

"The Committee is committed to reach as many Filipinos and stakeholders as we work for the passage of the Universal Health Care bills. The law must be a product of our constituents' inputs and reflective of their actual needs," Ejercito said.

The Senator highlighted the need for a universal health care citing the current health situation in the country.

"Filipinos spent additional Php505 in 2016 for health. According to Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) data, 54.2 percent of current health expenditures was shouldered by Filipinos while the government share only comprise 34.2 percent of the total health expenditures in 2016," he said.

He added, "We are also currently lacking 42,000 beds in public hospitals to implement the recommended one bed is to 800 population (1:800). In every government hospital I visit, the persisting problem is insufficient bed capacity. However, to achieve our target, we need at least Php228 Billion."

Despite the increased coverage of the Philhealth, Ejercito also scored the current issue in Philhealth's leadership which could affect the achievement of the company's vision.

"Considering that Dr. Celestina Dela Serna still serves as Interim OIC President of Philhealth, I am worried that this situation would affect the crucial role of the agency in insuring every Filipino and its operation as a whole" he said.

Meanwhile, Ejercito eyes the passage of the UHC Bills in the Senate before the end of the year after the series of local consultations.

"I am confident that we could pass the UHC in the Senate before the end of the year considering that it is also a priority measure of the Duterte administration. I consider our regional consultation today as a meaningful move on the part of the Senate, to show its full support to the President," he said.

He added, "I am also grateful to my counterpart in the House, Cong. Helen Tan who has already passed their version of the Universal Health Coverage. The Committee is close to wrapping-up our public consultations and will consolidate the inputs we gathered so far."

In attendance during the regional consultation were officials from the provinces, cities, municipalities, and barangays of the Region as well as health officers and practitioners including barangay health workers (BHWs).

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