MANILA -- Some 9,429 indigents obtained free medicine from March to June 9 through the Department of Social Welfare and Development's (DSWD) Libreng Gamot Para sa Masa (LinGaP Sa Masa) program.
Of the six hospitals that offer the program, the Western Visayas Medical Center in Iloilo City has so far had the highest number of patients served with 2,598, spending PHP8.98 million of its PHP138 million share of the program's PHP1 billion fund, according to an update on the LinGaP Sa Masa.
It was followed by the Jose B. Lingad Memorial Hospital in San Fernando, Pampanga with 2,584 patients served, using PHP26.38 million of its PHP108 million allocation, and the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) in Davao City with 1,754 patients served, utilizing PHP6.31 million of its PHP150 million allotment.
Meanwhile, the UP Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH) in Manila has aided 1,169 patients, spending PHP9.11 million of its PHP473 million allocation, while the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center in Cebu City has assisted 899 patients, using PHP8.88 million of its PHP131 million allotment. The Davao Regional Hospital in Tagum City likewise helped 425 patients, spending PHP4.66 million of the PHP150 million budget it shares with the SPMC.
The program, which began last March, carries out President Rodrigo Duterte's directive to provide free medicine to indigents and government workers who need treatment for illnesses or injuries. Its PHP1 billion budget came from the Socio-Civic Projects Fund of the Office of the President.
LinGaP Sa Masa targets indigents who are confined in or receiving outpatient treatment in one of the six identified hospitals and who need prescription medicine. It is also open to vulnerable or disadvantaged families; those belonging the informal sector; families covered by the DSWD Listahan; people in crisis situations, based on the assessment of social workers; government employees and contract of service workers; and beneficiaries of soldiers and police personnel killed or wounded in line of duty.
The program does not cover prescription medicines for drug dependents undergoing treatment or rehabilitation, as these are covered by a separate program.
Those qualified to get free medicine under LinGaP Sa Masa, should prepare a number of documents: a valid ID; a doctor's prescription bearing the patient's name, the date the prescription was issued (which should be within the past three months), as well as the doctor's signature, license number and contact details; and a proof of indigency, such as a barangay certificate of indigency or a certification issued by the medical social service of the identified hospital. A patient's representative needs to present a valid ID and a written authorization signed by patient.
When availing of the free medicine, the patient or his representative will present the doctor's prescription to the pharmacy of the hospital or a partner drugstore, which will issue a quotation for the medicine. The patient will then present the quotation to the DSWD social worker assigned to the identified hospital, along with the other required documents.
Once the documents are approved, the social worker will issue a Lingap sa Masa guarantee letter, which will specify the type and amount of the needed medicine and the corresponding price. The patient will then present this letter to the hospital pharmacy or partner drugstore, which in turn will dispense the medicine and stamp ISSUED on the guarantee letter.
Beneficiaries can avail of the free medicine once every three months unless they have a justification based on need, urgency and other factors approved by the DSWD social worker.
Those who have received medicine assistance under the DSWD's Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) are not eligible under this program and vice versa.
DSWD social workers assigned to the identified hospitals provide assistance eight hours a day and five days a week.
Source: Philippines News Agency