Government has designed programs to uplift the morale of the poor and alleviate their economic misery. Among these is PhilHealth’s healthcare insurance coverage for the indigents and senior citizens. But when some members avail themselves of PhilHealth benefits, some hospitals, including government-owned, ask patients to purchase some of the needed medications even though their total cost has not yet reached the maximum allowed per illness.
Another program is the 4Ps or the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program. The government gives a quarterly allowance to the poorest of the poor families with children in school. This is one of the best pro-poor programs—except that many of the real poorest of the poor have not benefited from it. This is something that the Department of Social Welfare and Development, now headed by Secretary Judy Taguiwalo, should look into. A survey was supposedly conducted before the designation of beneficiaries, but why the selectiveness (prejudice)?
The poor became fortunate when free elementary and high school education in public schools was granted by the DepEd more than five years ago. But to this day, there are still public schools that impose “collections.” Many poor parents can hardly shell out P100 per month on top of some other contributions and expenses for certain projects. This may be the reason why there are still out-of-school youth despite the free elementary and high school education. Recently free education was extended to college students. The “No Collection Policy” of DepEd should be strictly implemented.
Those who defy this policy should be investigated and charged administratively. With the huge budget of the national government for education this year, we expect that the poor will be able to access all benefits meant for them. But only genuine servant-leaders, who think not of what they can get from government but what they can do for the good of the people, can make this happen.
BIENVENIDO O. LACONZA, Davao City, [email protected]
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