By Ernie Reyes
MANILA — Senator Nancy Binay on Sunday thanked the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Commission on Higher Education for their move to repeal the policy requiring students in higher education institutions (HEIs) to have medical insurance before participating in in-person classes.
“Nagpapasalamat tayo sa IATF at CHED sa pagbawi ng requirement na dapat may medical insurance ang mga estudyanteng lalahok sa in-person classes.”
“Bawas perwisyo ito sa mga estudyante’t pamilya nila, at reassuring din na nakikinig ang pamahalaan sa mga hinaing ng bayan,” Binay said.
The senator had earlier urged the government to scrap the policy, which she said was onerous and unnecessary given that all Filipinos are already automatic members of PhilHealth.
“Dapat ang requirement, simpleng vaxx card lang. Sinasabi ng iba, isang pindot lang ng app, at magbayad ka ng P500, may insurance ka na. May mali eh. Bakit kailangan papahirapan ang estudyante at magulang? Supposedly libre na nga dahil lahat covered ng PhilHealth,” Binay said.
Under Republic Act No. 11223 or the Universal Health Care Law, all Filipinos are automatically enrolled in the National Health Insurance Program of PhilHealth.
“It takes humility to admit when one needs to correct things and take a step back. We learn from mistakes and make things better. I am glad that the IATF saw it unnecessary to further pursue the insurance requirement. Kung talagang di naman makabubuti o walang katuturan ang isang policy ay dapat itong bawiin o amyendahan,” said the lawmaker.
The requirement for students to have health insurance was imposed as a condition for the return to in-person classes this year.
It was based on Section H of Joint Memorandum Circular No. 2021-004 of the Commission on Education and the Department of Health which stated guidelines on the implementation of limited face-to-face classes for all programs of higher education institutions.
The IATF allowed last March the conduct of in-person classes for HEIs in areas under Alert Level 1 to up to 100-percent classroom capacity. However, only fully-vaccinated students and teaching and non-teaching personnel are allowed to participate. (ai/mtvn)