File photo of a family in Gen. Santos City preparing food in a community kitchen amidst the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo: Philippine News Agency)
By Tracy Cabrera
MANILA — Former Philippine National Police chief Guillermo Eleazar said that if there is one thing Filipinos should have learned on Covid pandemic, that should be the importance of medicines and medical services especially for the poor and marginalized sectors and those in far-flung areas unreachable by most.
Now running for senator under Partido Reporma, the 56-year-old former top cop visited General Santos City (GenSan) in South Cotabato, Mindanao and made public consultations with residents in the sprawling metropolis and he learned that the basic medical needs of the people there are not being met because of their lack of financial capability and obviously the meager budget of the local government that has crippled it from buying sufficient medical supplies.
Eleazar discussed the matter with the advocacy group Katotohanan, Pagkakaisa at Serbisyo (KPS) Foundation, which have been providing some of the primary needs of the people of GenSan, and the retired general agreed with the group that much is to be done not only in their area but across the whole country so that Filipinos will need not worry about their health.
“Mayroon tayong mga batas para sa murang gamot subalit sa tingin ko’y hindi pa rin sapat ang mga probisyon na naririto dahil madami pa rin ang nagkakaroon ng problema sa pagkakaroon ng akses sa tulong medical,” Eleazar pointed out.
“Ako ang magiging boses ninyo sa Senado sa inyong laban upang makakuha ng sapat na benepisyong medical at iba pa ninyong pangangailangan mula sa gobyerno,” he added.
Aside from free medical services and medicines, the 26th PNP chief disclosed that he will also seek to expand the primary benefit package of the country’s state healthcare insurer Philippine Health Corporation (PhilHealth), which includes free check-ups and laboratory tests especially for the less fortunate, through the promotion for the full coverage of the country’s population as registered PhilHealth beneficiaries.
“Sa kabila ng nararanasan nating pandemya, talagang dapat maging prayoridad ang pangangalaga kalusugan ng ating mga mamamayan upang maprotektahan ang bawat isa sa anumang sakit. Mas maganda kung lahat ay registered dito sa PhilHealth,” Eleazar stressed as he noted that according to health secretary Francisco Duque III, as of the month of August 2021, 87 percent of the country’s population has been registered with PhilHealth.(ai/mtvn)