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In 'Roxas presidency,' senior citizens get maintenance meds free

DAVAO DEL NORTE, Philippines – (UPDATED) Liberal Party (LP) standard-bearer Manuel Roxas II said he would make maintenance medicines free for all senior citizens. 

"Gagawin nating part ng PhilHealth," said Roxas in an interview over Bombo Radyo in Davao City on Tuesday, March 8. (We will include them in PhilHealth coverage.)

Roxas, standard-bearer of the ruling party and anointed candidate of President Benigno Aquino III, was asked what programs of the current administation he would continue should he be elected president. 

Asked to expound on his plans, Roxas would later clarify to reporters that the program is already in place and is being pilot-tested by PhilHealth. Funds, he said, are already with the Health department-attached corporation. 

The LP is running a 2016 campaign hinged on the promise of continuing Aquino's supposed gains and reforms. 

Early this year, the Department of Health set up a hypertension and diabetes club where patients can avail themselves of free maintenance medicines – regardless of age. 

But President Aquino also vetoed a bill that was meant to benefit senior citizens: the proposed P2,000-pension increase for Social Security System members. (READ: Senior citizens: We can't afford medication without SSS pension hike)

PhilHealth expansion is among Roxas' campaign promises, which also include improving the agriculture sector through what he calls a "Bukid Revolution" and empowering cities, towns and barangays through an expanded bottom-up budgeting program. 

The cornerstone of the Aquino administration's social efforts is its conditional cash transfer program dubbed the "Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program" (4Ps). 

Roxas promised to continue and improve on the 4Ps and chided political rivals for supporting the program now when in the past, they strongly opposed 4Ps. 

According to a recent poll, a huge chunk of voters would pick a president who continues the popular program. 

From a broad promise of continuity, Roxas has since fine-tuned his main campaign promise to create jobs across all industries. 

Roxas is campaigning in the Davao region on Tuesday. The region is the bailiwick of one of his rivals for the presidency, Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte. (READ: Roxas campaigns in Duterte territory– Rappler.com