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PIA Press Release

PGMA raises budget for upgrading of gov't hospitals from P500 M to P1.3 B next year

DIPOLOG CITY, Zamboanga del Norte (18 September) -- The budget for the improvement and upgrading of government hospitals would be increased from P500 million to P1.3 billion next year to further improve the provision of quality health care services to the Filipinos, particularly the less privileged ones, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said yesterday.

The President made the announcement during the media interaction that followed her inauguration of the P289-million Zamboanga del Norte Medical Center (ZNMC) in this city Monday afternoon.

"The fund for the upgrading of government hospitals will be raised from P500 million to P1.3 billion," the President said in her opening statement.

The increased allocation, the President said, would help in the upgrading of more than 100 government hospitals nationwide from primary to secondary, or from secondary to tertiary.

She said these would provide accessible, affordable and specialized health services to the people, particularly to those in the rural or remote areas.

For 2008, the President said some P370 million would also be allotted by the national government for the purchase of half-priced medicines by the Department of Health (DOH) for distribution to local government units and government hospitals.

"Asahan po ninyo na ang kalusugan ng ating mamamayan ay ating babantayan," the President stressed.

Under the President's health reform program, the DOH has been mandated to improve and increase access to health care services, and reduce the financial burden on poor families through the provision of half-priced medicines and universal coverage under the National Health Insurance Program (NHIP).

At the same time, the President said P1 billion has been allocated to the Philippine International Trading Corporation (PITC) for the purchase of half-priced medicines from India next year.

She said about 4,000 more Botika ng Barangay and Botika ng Bayan would be established this year throughout the country so more people, especially in the rural areas, can avail themselves of half-priced medicines.

By next year, the President said a total of 15,000 Botika ng Barangay and Botika ng Bayan would be available nationwide.

President Arroyo also clarified that the purchase and importation of half-priced medicines is not a monopoly of the PITC.

"Anybody who wants to buy half-priced medicines from India can do so even without going through PITC," she said.

The President invited members of the drug industry to take the opportunity to buy half-priced medicines from India during her state visit there on Oct. 4-5. (PIA) [top]

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