MANILA The Senate on Monday passed on third and final reading a proposed bill, which provides for the mandatory PhilHealth coverage for all persons with disability (PWDs).
Senate Bill No. 1391, which amends Republic Act No. 7277 or the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons, was passed with 18 affirmative votes, zero negative vote and no abstention.
Under the proposed measure, all PWDs shall be automatically enrolled in and covered under the National Health Insurance Program (NHIP) of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth).
Premium contributions for all PWDs shall be paid by the national government; provided that the premium contributions for all PWD members in the formal economy shall be shared equally by their employers and the national government.
Funds necessary to ensure the enrollment of all PWDs will be sourced from "sin" tax collections.
The bill also mandates PhilHealth to develop exclusive packages for PWDs that will address their specific health and development needs.
Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto lauded the passage of the measure as a fulfillment of the Senate's duty to about two million Filipinos living with disability.
This is a Senate whose role has always been to speak in behalf of those who can't, to listen to the cries of those who can't hear, to realize the vision of those who can't see, and to march for those who can't walk. In passing this bill today, the Senate is just being true to its role, Recto said.
For Senator Risa Hontiveros, the bill's primary sponsor, the Senate's approval of SB 1391 is "a big step towards our dream of universal health care for all Filipinos."
"Finally, we have a law that aims to expand the benefits currently given to PWDs. As we strive for universal health care, this measure will help ensure that no one will be left behind," Hontiveros said.
Meanwhile, Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito said through the laws passed by the chamber, senators aim to "contribute in uplifting the PWDs' welfare and spirits.
When the time comes that persons with disabilities themselves do not feel the difference between being abled and not, we can say that we have served them well. Our laws have equalized the playing field," Ejercito said. (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency