DOH signs IRR for UHC law

MANILA — Department of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III on Thursday signed the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the landmark Universal Health Care (UHC) law (Republic Act No. 11223).

In his speech at the ceremonial signing in Manila, Duque said the IRR is only the first step to the creation of a health system that works for all.

“We will begin with a change in perspective where health care is more than treating patients in our facilities. The health system will actively improve the health literacy, the health environment, the social determinants of health of every Filipino,” he said.

The IRR would guide the DOH and its partner agencies in implementing the landmark law.

Quezon 4th District Rep. Helen Tan, author of the UHC Act in the House of Representatives, said while the law may not be perfect, it is a good start in improving the health condition of Filipinos, despite many challenges including appropriate funding.

“Ang bola ay nasa DOH and PhilHealth na (The ball is already in the hands of the DOH and PhilHealth [Philippine Health Insurance Corporation] already)…and you can’t afford to lose this battle for the people and now is the time to fulfill the promise of health care,” she said.

Senator Risa Hontiveros, a co-author and co-sponsor of the UHC Act, said the legislators would monitor the implementation of the law through mandated performance evaluation mechanisms.

“Ito ay para masiguro na nagta-translate sa aktwal na pagbabago, na nararamdaman ng mga Pilipino ang reporma ng UHC law (This is to ensure that it [UHC law] translates to actual change, that every Filipino feels the reforms brought about by the UHC law),” Hontiveros said.

On February 20, President Rodrigo Duterte signed the UHC law which ensures that every Filipino, including overseas Filipino workers, are eligible to preventive, promotive, curative, rehabilitative, and palliative care.

Under the law, all Filipino citizens are automatically enrolled into the government’s health insurance program.

Members who have the capacity to pay are considered direct contributors while the indigents and senior citizens are categorized as indirect contributors and are sponsored by the government. Ma. Teresa Montemayor /PNA-