Indigent patients with "extremely justifiable cases" can get a maximum of Php75,000 worth of medical assistance each from Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation's (Pagcor) PHP1-billion fund released by President Rodrigo Duterte to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
According to DWSD Secretary Judy Taguiwalo, the PHP1 billion has not been downloaded to the DSWD but the department will already start processing applications from the poor patients.
"We are implementing it immediately, meaning, if the indigent patients have valid prescriptions, we find ways to provide that assistance from our existing funds," Taguiwalo said in a Palace briefing.
Based on the DSWD guidelines, Taguiwalo said the qualified patients are entitled to get free medicines from a minimum of PHP5,000 to PHP25,000 provided they have authorization from a social worker of the government hospitals.
"However, in extremely justifiable cases, the amount of assistance beyond PHP25,000 but not to exceed PHP75,000 may be granted subject to the approval of the (DSWD) Assistant Secretary for Protective Programs or the regional director for DSWD field office," Taguiwalo said.
She said medical prescription worth below PHP5,000 only will not require long process.
Taguiwalao, however, clarified that the medical assistance will not be released in cash to the qualified indigent patients.
"We will not give them money but only referral or guarantee letters. We will help you to get the medicines from the accredited pharmacies where we have memorandum of understanding," she explained.
Taguiwalo said recipients of the free medicines are indigent patients from initial list of accredited government hospitals such as University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital in Manila, Jose B. Lingad Memorial Hospital in Pampanga, Western Medical Center in Iloilo City, Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center in Cebu, Southern Medical Center in Davao and Davao Regional Hospital in Tagum City.
She said the DSWD has yet to release the name of drug stories that will be accredited by the program.
"We will make sure that this fund (PHP1 billion) will benefit our poor patients. It's not enough but this initial fund is already a big help," Taguiwalo said.
The PHP1 billion was part of the PHP5 billion that Pagcor turned over to President Duterte's socio-civil projects.
President Duterte also gave PHP1 billion for the rehabilitation of the drug dependents at the newly-build mega drug rehabilitation center in Nueva Ecija.
Source: Philippines News Agency