MANILA, Philippines – For the critics of his administration’s social services, President Benigno Aquino III would rather let the figures do the talking.
During his last State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday, July 27, Aquino said the number of Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) members has more than doubled under his administration – from 47 million in 2010 to 89.4 million as of June 2015.
“Tuwing eleksyon, parang kabuteng nagsusulputan ang mga bagong benepisyaryo ng PhilHealth. Imbes kasi na pangangailangan ng bayan, interes ng kandidato ang naging basehan. Tinama na natin ang ganyang kalakaran.”
(During elections, new PhilHealth beneficiaries sprout like mushrooms. This is because instead of the need of the country, the basis used to be the candidate’s interest. We already changed that.)
He also noted that in 2012, only the poorest Filipino families could avail themselves of PhilHealth’s no-balance billing. Now, even near-poor families benefit from it.
“Ibig sabihin, para sa pinakamahirap na 40%, libre na ring magpagamot sa mga pampublikong ospital.” (This means for the poorest 40% services will be free in public hospitals)
With these changes, Aquino took a swipe at Vice President Jejomar Binay, who called the government “insensitive and a failure” in a speech he delivered right after he resigned from the Aquino Cabinet.
“Ito po ‘yung pagkalingang tinatawag ng iba na palpak at manhid? Ang tugon ko po, sabi nga ni Aiza Seguerra noong araw: I thank you. Bow,” Aquino said on Monday.
(Is this the care that others call a failure and insensitive? My response: As Aiza Seguerra once said: I thank you. Bow.)
PhilHealth is the government’s national health insurance program aimed at providing affordable health care to Filipinos.
Later in his speech, Aquino thanked the Congress for passing health-related legislations, such as the reproductive health law and the sin tax law. – Rappler.com