Health insurance for volunteers proposed

BAGUIO CITY September 18 – The City Council approved o first reading a proposed ordinance providing for Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PHIC) coverage for local government volunteers and appropriating an initial amount of P1 million from the annual budget of the city for such purpose.

The ordinance authored by Councilor Leandro B. Yangot, Jr. stipulated that an initial amount of P1 million shall be appropriated from the annual budget of the local government and that the said amount may be increased by the City Mayor if he deems it necessary through a supplemental budget during the first year of implementation of the PhilHealth coverage for volunteers of the city.

The ordinance added the local government shall register the volunteers possessing all the qualifications for their rendered services and timely remit their premium contributions to the PHIC.

Among the volunteers that will be covered by the health insurance include the Barangay Nutrition Scholars, Barangay Health Workers, Barangay Nutrition Action Officers, day care workers who are parent-assisted, integrated barangay tanods, volunteers at the Office of the Senior Citizens' Affairs pursuant to Ordinance No. 053, series of 1995 and non-government members of the People's Law Enforcement Board (PLEB).

Section 11 Article XIII of the 1987 Constitution declared that the State shall adopt an integrated and comprehensive approach to health development which shall endeavor to make essential goods, health and other social services available to all the people at affordable cost and that there shall be a priority to the needs of the under privileged, sick, elderly, disabled, women and children.

To implement the declared principle as enshrined in the Constitution, the ordinance noted that Congress of the Philippines enacted Republic Act (RA) 7875 otherwise known as the National Health Insurance Act of 2003 as amended by RA 9241 and 10606.

In pursuit of such enactment, the ordinance stated that the implementing rules and regulations of the National Health Insurance Program provides that the same shall be compulsory in all provinces, cities and municipalities nationwide, notwithstanding the existence of a LGU-based health insurance programs.

The ordinance claimed that the corporation, health department, local governments and other concerned government agencies, including non-governmental organizations, and other national agencies shall ensure that members in such localities shall have access to quality and cost-effective health care services.

Resolution No. 144, series of 2008 that provides PhilHealth coverage to the volunteers who regularly provide services to the local government declared that there was a need to provide the enumerated local government volunteers with health insurance coverage and that the same will boost their morale and further encourage them to intensify their campaign in providing services to the residents of the city.

By Dexter A. See

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