FREE HEALTH INSURANCE FOR ALL IF GMA ELECTED

MANILA, April 21, 2004
 
(STAR)
President Arroyo vowed yesterday to complete the universal health insurance coverage of Filipinos with a four-point health agenda after she wins a fresh six-year mandate on May 10.

Speaking at a campaign rally at Southern Luzon Polytechnic College in Lucban, Quezon, Mrs. Arroyo said she had already given out health cards from the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (Philhealth) to 26 million Filipino families.

"Majority of Filipino families already have Philhealth (cards), majority ng bansang Pilipinas ay meron na," she said.

"We’re now going to next stop to give health insurance to all Filipino families."

Mrs. Arroyo also unveiled her four-point health agenda for the next six years: Botika sa barangay (drug store in villages), importation of cheaper yet efficacious medicine from India, a commitment from the pharmaceutical industry to help in the government’s "half-priced" medicine program and the use and promotion of genetic medicine, which are cheaper than branded medicine, but of the same efficacy.

Mrs. Arroyo said many Filipinos die from sickness because of lack of medicine, which is "very expensive" in the country as compared to Europe, the United States and other Asian countries.

"Now that we expanded health insurance to (the) majority, my promise is to cut by half the price of medicine that are being bought by Filipinos," she said.

"We will make this affordable. not only in cities, but in far-flung barangays all over the Philippines."

Mrs. Arroyo was accompanied by her vice presidential running mate Sen. Noli de Castro and Health Secretary Manuel Dayrit.

Dayrit distributed Philhealth cards to residents of Lucban. –Marichu Villanueva


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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