At least 500 identified National Household Targeting Sytem for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR) beneficiaries and Sponsored Program members from South Cotabato gathered at Hernandez Farm, City of Koronadal during the nationwide simultaneous launching of ALAGA KA to receive their Member Data Record and attend the National Health Insurance Program orientation.

ALAGA or “Alamin at Gamitin” program is a collaborative provision of basic health care services for sponsored members and indigents by Philhealth, Department of Health, Department of Social Welfare and Services, Local Government Units and other government agencies.

The launching activity aimed to release, amend and update member data record of beneficiaries and have them avail of TSEKAP “Tamang Serbisyong Pangkalusugan” or basic health care services previously known as primary care benefit package.

There were three doctors who provided TSEKAP services from Koronadal City Health Office led by Dr. Hazel Mejala, one dentist and three doctors from South Cotabato Provincial Hospital led by their Admin Officer, Mr. John Salcedo and one doctor each from the Municipal Hospitals of Polomolok, Norala, and Lake Sebu.

The event was graced by the South Cotabato 2nd District Representative, Congressman Ferdinand Hernandez, South Cotabato Governor Daisy P. Avance-Fuentes, DOH12 Regional Director, Dr. Teogenes Baluma and staff, DSWD social workers and Philhealth 12 personnel led by OIC-RVP Dr. Miriam Grace G. Pamonag.

“This launching activity basically aims to strengthen our partnership with DOH, LGUs and other government agencies… out of around 795,000 beneficiaries, you are lucky to be here today in order to listen and understand what this program is all about…hope you will help us disseminate the information. We are all responsible for its sustainable implementation because Philhealth is for everybody. We need to work hand in hand for the attainment of ‘Bawat Pilipino miyembro, bawat miyembro protektado,kalusugan natin segurado,” OIC RVP, Dr. Miriam G. Pamonag said.

DOH12 Director Baluma on the other hand expressed his gratitude to Philhealth as partner in implementing this project. “Those who used to get scared in going to hospital due to financial insufficiency may now freely avail of the services because there is enough budget for this…everybody has all the reasons to go to the hospital and avail of the benefits.”

He added that DOH released Php33B for the coverage of 14.7M families nationwide with Php1.9B allocation for Region12 plus Php7M from Congress. “Mothers may already avail of their maternity care services through health centers for DOH has invested a lot because we aim to have a healthy workforce, for a healthier and more progressive nation. There’s more that we can do. That’s why learn more about ALAGA…alamin at gamitin ang inyong mga benepisyo dahil binayaran na ‘yan ng gobyerno.”

Philhealth, DOH and LGUs are exerting all their efforts to erase doubts and gain members’ confidence in availing of their benefits from government facilities. Health Centers are enhanced and upgraded, health workers are trained and drugs and medicines are all provided according to him. 

Jane Eyre Cuyos Orquio from Barangay Teresita, Sto. Nino, South Cotabato receiving her updated Member Data Record from South Cotabato Governor, Hon. Daisy P. Avance-Fuentes.

L-R: Philhealth12 OIC RVP, Dr. Miriam Grace G. Pamonag, DOH12 Regional Director, Dr. Tiogenes Baluma and South Cotabato 2nd District Representative, Cong. Ferdinand Hernadez

Gov. Fuentes also said that ALAGA KA launching activity of Philhealth spread a lot of good news for everybody. “South Cotabato on the other hand has maintained its Php7M coverage prioritizing health workers in the barangay. I am waiting for the Php7M from Congress because sometimes Philhealth coverage is not enough especially if cases are not included in the package particularly those complicated and recurring ones.” 

The Provincial Government has also provided sufficient fund for the point of care. Php50M for drugs and medicines was allocated to support Philhealth’s No Balance Billing Policy. Doctors and other medical staff were likewise hired and trained. “If you have complaints against our doctors and nurses, just tell us in order to discipline our health workers.”

Allah Valley Hospital in Surallah is hoped to be opened by July. “After its renovation, we hope to put up another 3-story ward building in the Provincial Hospital to decongest clogging patients. We have also purchased beds because I don’t want to hear bed for rent in the hospital. By next year, I hope the 3-story green building will solve the problem. We used to subsidize Php150M for the hospital operating cost … Now, that there is Philhealth, we only allocate Php30M. . . thanks to that,” she further said.

In conclusion, she encouraged the beneficiaries to support the program by taking good care of themselves and by adapting healthy lifestyle. Nutritious foods are not expensive like camote tops, malungay and spinach. They can be planted at the backyard and everybody can do that. This eliminates hospitalization and helps decongest the facility.

In support to the Governor’s message, Cong. Hernandez reiterated her message of working together by having a healthy lifestyle. In addition, he said that this is an example how the government works for the people. Make the services closer and make the people feel important.

“We will do everything to open the hospital in Surallah and we are also requesting for the transfer of DOH12 in Koronadal because upon the ratification of Bangsamoro Law for sure the Regional Hospital in Cotabato will be given to the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao. We are also requesting for our own Regional Hospital because we have also our budget for that. I hope DOH Secretary Ona will grant our request. We have a lot of things to hope for. Just take good care of yourselves in order to enjoy more services from the government. Thanks to Philhealth and DOH,” Hernandez concluded.

He has also requested more lying-in facilities to be set up in far flung areas in order to address maternal and neonatal death. (HGN)

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