Universal Health Care Bill certified as urgent

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By Camille A. Aguinaldo, Reporter

PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte has certified the Universal Healthcare Bill as an urgent measure, presidential spokesperson Harry L. Roque, Jr. said on Tuesday.

“I am very pleased to announce that our pet bill when we were in Congress, (the) Universal Health Care which we sponsored and defended in the Lower House, was certified urgent by the President,” he said at a press briefing in Indang, Cavite.

The Universal Healthcare Bill provides for the automatic inclusion of all Filipinos under National Health Insurance Program of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp (Philhealth).

The proposed measure remained pending at the Senate committee level while its counterpart measure in the House of Representatives passed on third and final reading in September 2017. It has been identified as among the priority bills of the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC).

A bill certified urgent by the President will allow Congress to pass the proposed measure on second and third reading on the same day.

In a statement, Senator Joseph Victor G. Ejercito, chair of the Senate committee on health, vowed to pass the measure when Congress opens its third regular session on July 23.

“I view universal health care as an integral to our anti-poverty drive. Ensuring good health for Filipinos is crucial to economic development as because ensuring the well-being of all Filipinos means that they can be more productive, which further means they can better overcome poverty,” he said.

“Hoping to work on the passage of this landmark legislation once we resume session,” he added.