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PIA Press Release

President Arroyo bats for "half-priced" medicines

By Franklin P. Gumapon

Dipolog City (17 September) -- True to her commitment to provide the people with greater access to quality and affordable health services, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is now pushing for the "half-priced" medicine program.

In a "pulong bayan" held this afternoon at the newly constructed Zamboanga del Norte Medical Center here the President has underscored the importance of addressing the health needs of the people "so that each family would stay healthy and that the parents can continue tending their living to send their children to school and save for their future."

The President also emphasized that the "half-priced" medicine program is not a monopoly of the Philippine International Trading Center (PITC) saying "anybody who wants to buy half-priced medicine from India can do so even without going through the PITC. "But the PTIC is there should a local government unit, national government agency or any entity need seed capital, technical assistance, marketing assistance and supplying assistance," the President said.

"The PTIC only gets into all this because it is the pioneer of this program," Arroyo explained, adding that "the local government units and private drugstores that want to get into this business are welcomed even with out the PTIC."

To further promote the "half-priced" medicine program, the President is urging Congress to pass the cheaper medicine bill, which the three representatives of the province who joined her during the "pulong bayan" have expressed their full support.

The cheaper medicine bill, which congress is going to pass, is expected to bring down the cost of medicines and give the people better access to health services.

The President was joined in the "pulong bayan" by Zamboanga del Norte Gov. Rolando E. Yebes, Dipolog City Mayor Evelyn Uy, Dapitan City Mayor Dominador Jalosjos Jr., 1st district representative Cecilia Jalosjos-Arroyo, 2nd district representative Rosendo Labadlabad, 3rd district representative Cesar Jalosjos, Sec. Jesus Dureza of the Office of Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), Usec. Teddy Rivera of PTIC and Usec Margarita Galon of the Department of Health (DOH).

The President was here to inaugurate the new Zamboanga del Norte Medical Center built by the provincial government headed by Governor Rolando E. Yebes, and to inspect the ongoing road widening project from Dapitan City to Dakak park and beach resort. (PIA-ZN) [top]

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