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Chiz to fund barangay officials’ PhilHealth premium in 2015

By Office of Senator Chiz Escudero
September 2, 2014

PASAY CITY – Senator Chiz Escudero will fund the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) premium of all barangay officials in the country for 2015.

Escudero, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said next year’s budget will have all barangay officials in the country covered by the National Health Insurance Program (NHIP) through PhilHealth benefits.

The senator said he will put a special provision in the PhilHealth budget to include an amount intended to cover the premiums of barangay officials who are not yet enrolled in the government health insurance program.

An estimated 600,000 barangay officials from the country’s 42,000 barangays will stand to benefit from this healthcare program. Currently, under a Department of the Interior and Local Government Memorandum, barangay officials are enrolled in PhilHealth depending on the capacity of the barangay to pay their premiums.

“Given PhilHealth’s increased budget, the inclusion of all barangay officials as its members can be made mandatory. As public servants who are in the frontlines of public services, the members of the Sangguniang Barangay should have access to healthcare assistance, which is a universal basic service,” Escudero said.

“We will not wait anymore for the NHIP to identify barangays and its members for enrollment as this will slow down the delivery of a much-needed basic service which is elusive to most of our barangay officials,” the senator added.

From its P12 billion budget in 2013, PhilHealth’s appropriation amounted to over P37 billion as full national government subsidy for the health insurance premium of over 15 million families for 2015.

According to the Department of Health (DOH), 82 percent of the total population or around 80 million individuals are already covered by PhilHealth. It says the goal is to boost its coverage to more than 90 percent of the total population by the end of 2015.

Escudero explained that the estimated 600,000 to 700,000 additional members from the Sangguniang Barangay, including barangay tanods, to the existing number of individuals that are covered by the health insurance is very well within its absorptive capacity.

Under the Local Government Code, a barangay chairman, along with the other barangay officials, should get paid between P600 and P1,000, and Escudero said the compensation they are receiving is enough proof that the health insurance is a need rather than an incentive.

“Their compensation is not even enough to buy the most basic of medicines, much more pay for hospitalization bills,” said Escudero.

Barangay officials, as listed, will be classified as members earning P8,999 and below, and shall pay P100 as monthly premium.