Red protesters against new Philhealth policy march today PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 15 December 2011 15:25

Placard-bearing beneficiaries of the city government’s Philhealth program will march the streets today as a show of protest to the new sponsorship policy that is set to take effect starting January 2012.

Donning red shirts and red ribbons, the rallyists will converge at the Paseo del Mar at 8am and will proceed to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) regional office in Vicente Alvarez Street for the rally. Ten persons representing the different sectors will speak one after the other expressing their sentiments over the national government’s new Philhealth sponsorship policy.

From the DSWD regional office, the group will proceed to the Philhealth office along Veterans Avenue where another set of 10 speakers representing the different sectors affected will also speak. The protesters will take their lunch on the roadside after the rally.

The protesters are among the 20,000 Philhealth beneficiaries and their relatives who will be affected by the new policy that makes only those included in the list yielded from the National Housing Targeting System (NHTS) survey to be used for the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4Ps, as eligible for the Philhealth sponsorship program starting 2012.

Under the present program, each beneficiary is entitled to a one-year PhilHealth insurance for P1,200, of which the local government unit shoulders the P600 while the national government shoulders the remaining P600.

Accordingly, only a little over 5,000 of the total number of beneficiaries of the city’s Philhealth program are included in the NHTS survey list and are assured of continuous share from the national government.

Based on records from the City Social Welfare and Development Office, the sectors and number of beneficiaries of the Philhealth sponsored program in the city are the following: barangay indigents- 17, 308; Rural Improvement Club (RIC)-1, 471; urban poor groups- 3,478; Senior Citizens- 1,190; former barangay officials- 728; Persons with Disabilities (PWDs)- 498; Trained hilots- 103; TB Task Force – 68; Deportees- 35; Child Care workers- 23; Day Care Workers (DCW)- 90; Barangay Nutrition Scholars (BNS)- 42; Retired Barangay Health Workers- 10; Press Club members- 35; Job Orders- 80 and other sectors- 563 for a total of 25,722.

The city government also has a sponsored program for coop members, whereby, half of the annual contribution is paid by the city government and the other half by the coops. These include 3,264 members from the MEMPCO and 748 from the People’s Micro Finance Corporation (PMFC) which brings the total Philhealth sponsorship program of the city to 29, 732.

Prior to the huge rally today, the different sectors have written President Noynoy Aquino seeking intervention on their predicament. On Monday, members of the different Urban Poor organizations/ Homeowners Association Federation sent a petition letter to the president appealing for a reconsideration of the national government’s position.

The group also asked the president to continue subsidizing their Philhealth benefits  on grounds that it is “a great help to the poor constituents of this country”.

“Mr. President, we would like to impress upon your good self that we are not members/ beneficiaries of the 4Ps program but we are also poor families like them, only we were unlucky for we do not quality with the program”, the petition-letter, officially sent and received in Malacanang Monday morning states.    “We do not complain about it, we all give due respect to the program, but to cut our Philhealth benefits just because we do not belong to the program seems not only unfair but unjust for it deprived us of the equitable distribution of government programs and services.” — Sheila Covarrubias