Negros Occidental will get about P3 billion more annually in health services for the poor with the implementation of the sin tax law, Rep. Alfredo Abelardo Benitez (Neg. Occ., 3rd District) said yesterday.
With the expected P3 billion, Benitez said government can really come up with a social program for health to cover everyone and to improve hospitals.
In preparation for this, he has asked the Department of Social Welfare and Development National Household Targeting Unit to conduct a re-evaluation of the number of poor families in the third district of Negros Occidental, he said.
The re-evaluation is needed to determine who can further qualify for the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, or 4Ps, and free PhilHealth coverage of the government, Benitez said.
He said those qualified for free PhilHealth coverage in his district also are automatically covered by the Negros Occidental Comprehensive Health Care Program to enable them to avail of free health services and hospitalization.
At present, 11,659 households in the third district are covered by the 4Ps.
But the DSWD re-evaluation listed 31,479 more households who fall within the criteria for 4Ps and free PhilHealth coverage, who still need to be subjected to the proxy means tests, DSWD Regional Focal Person Trinidad Lopez said.
Benitez said so far, 35,365 indigent families have been covered under the NOCHP in the third district, that is targeting 45,000.
He asked for the DSWD special validation because he wants to have the number and names of families ready for coverage under the expanded health services of the national government with the increase of funds from the six tax law collections, Benitez said.
“I felt the third district was underserved, there are a lot of other qualified constituents who have not been put into the program,” he said.
Congress also doubled the allocated budget for the 4Ps, or the conditional cash transfer program, from P20 billion to P39 billion so there is really room for expansion of coverage, he said.
Bacolod City also asked for a re-evaluation of the number of residents who can be covered by the 4Ps last year, Lopez said.*CPG