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AUG 26, 2015

NR # 3938B

House okays Free Basic Medicine Assistance Act


The House of Representatives has approved on third and final reading a measure that
establishes a free basic medicine assistance program in all government health facilities nationwide.
House Bill 5955, to be known as Free Basic Medicine Assistance Act, seeks to ensure that
free basic medicines are accessible and available to meet the needs of the poor.
By establishing a Free Basic Medicine Assistance Program in all government district
hospitals, local health units and barangay health centers in all cities and municipalities nationwide,
this ensures that these are availed only by qualified recipients or beneficiaries, Rep. Eufranio C.
Eriguel (2nd District, La Union), chairman of the House Committee on Health, said.
Under the measure, a system of implementing the delivery of free medicines to indigent
members of the society such as the underprivileged, the sick, the elderly, the disabled and the poorest
of the poor shall be adopted.
The bill mandates the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the head
of the barangay to identify eligible beneficiaries who shall submit a quarterly report of free basic
medicines released to target beneficiaries to the Department of Health (DOH).
Rep. Erlinda M. Santiago (Party-list, 1-SAGIP), author of House Bill 602 that was substituted
by House Bill 5955, said it is the policy of the State to protect and promote the right to health and
well-being of every Filipino and to adopt a system of implementing the delivery of free basic
medicines to those who have less in life in all health facilities in the country, giving priority to the
underprivileged, ailing, malnourished, elderly, women and children, disabled and the poorest of the
poor.
The amount needed for the initial implementation of this Act shall be charged against the
appropriations for the DOH and shall be included in the annual General Appropriations Act
thereafter.
The bill directs the DOG, the DSWD and the Philippine Medical Association (PMA) to
promulgate the necessary rules and regulations.
Other authors of the bill are Reps. Joseph Gilbert F. Violago (2 nd District, Nueva Ecija),
Angelina DL. Tan (4th District, Quezon), Maximo B. Rodriguez, Jr. (Party-list, ABAMIN), Rufus B.
Rodriguez (2nd District, Cagayan de Oro City), Estrellita B. Suansing (1 st District, Nueva Ecija),
Cristopher S. Co and Rodel M. Batocabe (Party-list, Ako Bicol), Czarina D. Umali (3 rd District,
Nueva Ecija), Joaquin M. Chipeco, Jr. (2 nd District, Laguna), Jose Christopher Y. Belmonte (6 th
District, Quezon City), Rene L. Relampagos (1 st District, Bohol), Romero S. Quimbo (2 nd District,
Marikina City), Rose Marie J. Arenas (3 rd District, Pangasinan), Isagani S. Amatong (3 rd District,
Zamboanga del Norte), Randolph S. Ting (3 rd District, Cagayan), Sol Aragones (3rd District,
Laguna), Linnabelle Ruth R. Villarica (4th District, Bulacan), Jose I. Tejada (3 rd District, North
Cotabato), Gus S. Tambunting (2 nd District, Paraaque City), Rosenda Ann Ocampo (6 th District,
Manila), Isidro T. Ungab (3rd District, Davao City), Maria Zenaida B. Angping (3rd District, Manila)
and Scott Davies S. Lanete (3rd District, Masbate). (30) lvc