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Caraga solons secure health insurance for Surigao poor

A neophyte law maker that has a prolific relentless heart for genuine public service.

Barely a year in his post, 2nd District Congressman of Surigao del Norte, Hon. Guillermo Romarate, Jr., has his cup hands full of development projects for his constituents. One of his urgent priority is the provision of health insurance for the poor Surigaonon families thru PhilHealths' Sponsored Program. He signs the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with PhilHealth Caraga duly represented by Dr. Eduardo Gonzalez together with the nine Municipal Mayors from Alegria, Bacuag, Claver, Gigaquit, Mainit, Placer, San Francisco, Taganaan, and Surigao City to enroll 15,286 indigent families equivalent to P6,207,000 annual premium which he personally earmarked out of his Congressional fund.

As an upshot, enrolment in these municipalities will increase from a mere 43 percent to 100 percent or Universal Health Insurance coverage for all families living below poverty line. Further, this will ensure poor families' freedom from fear of medical crisis and help reshape the impoverished state of their localities.

It was unanimously agreed that all selected qualified beneficiaries be enrolled and provided with their PhilHealth Cards within the fist semester of 2008.

As a former Mayor of Tubod, he had wittingly resculptured the facets of public health by enrolling all indigent families into the National Health Insurance Program and having his Rural Health Center (RHU) accredited. In return, he received additional funds from PhilHealth known as PhilHealth Capitation Fund (PCF), which he used to provide free much needed drugs and medical supplies, and wide array of laboratory services not only for poor families enrolled in PhilHealth but to all of his constituents within and beyond his borders. Rural Health Staff were also able to enjoy additional incentives out of the PCF and were therefore inspired to continuously improve their quality of service transcending the mediocrity of public health service perceived and experienced in government-owned facilities.

He earnestly campaign that this tested formula of public health reforms be replicated by other municipalities through vigorous leadership of their respective Local Chief Executives.

He is presently working on enrolling more indigent families in Malimono, Surigao del Norte in partnership with all the barangay local governments.

Apart from Congressman Romarate's initiative, other District Representatives also manifested their intention to enroll indigent families to the Sponsored Program.

Congressman Francisco Matugas intends to enroll 11,359 families of the 1st District of Surigao del Norte while Congressman Florencio Garay is to sign up 4,500 families of the 2nd District of Surigao del Sur both under the Legislative Sponsorship Program. All signifies to adopt, allocate and implement the Sponsored Program to their respective constituency. Congressman Jose S. Aquino II, of the 1st District of Agusan del Norte on the other hand has already forged an agreement with PhilHealth to allocate funds from his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to enroll 3,486 families, of which 1,166 families will start to enjoy medicare benefits by 2nd quarter of 2008 and the remaining 2,320 will follow on 3rd quarter of 2008. (PHIC-Caraga/PIA-Caraga)


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