FALSE: Duterte 'signed' universal health care bill in October 2018
CLAIM: On October 15, 2018, a Facebook page purportedly owned by TV host and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) Deputy Executive Director V Arnell Ignacio claimed that President Rodrigo Duterte already signed the universal health care bill into law.
The post shows a photo of Duterte superimposed on a throne and being hailed as the "best president of the Philippines" following the supposed signing of the measure.
The account, shown in the screenshot below, had a profile photo of Ignacio but the handle @DuterteSupportersAngpagbabago.
This claim remains active on the Facebook page, and has had more than 93,000 shares since October 2018.
The page consistently gives Duterte credit for the successful projects of the government.
The Facts: At the time the claim was posted in October 2018, the universal health care bill had not yet been passed into law. Ignacio also denies that he owns the account that posted the claim.
In a tweet dated January 8, 2019, the bill's principal author Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito stated that the bill remains pending at the House of Representatives for signature and has yet to be transmitted to Malacanang.
However, Duterte did help accelerate the approval of the measure.
During his State of the Nation Address (SONA), the President urged Congress to speed up the passage of the bill in order to provide accessible and high-quality health services to Filipinos. He even certified the bill as urgent days before his 3rd SONA.
A bicameral conference committee was held last November to reconcile conflicting provisions in the Senate and House versions. The committee approved the bicam report on November 27 and submitted it to both chambers of Congress on December 6.
But while both the Senate and the House ratified the report on December 10, it took a while for Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to sign and transmit the report to Malacañang for the President's signature.
An entry in the bills and index section of the Senate website shows that the bicam report was signed by Arroyo only last Monday, January 21.
Meanwhile, in a phone interview with Rappler, Ignacio denied that he owns the page that posted the claim.
"Hindi akin yan. Although totoo naman yata 'yung balita. Pero 'di akin 'yan," Ignacio said. (That's not mine. Maybe the news is true, but that [page] is not mine.)
When asked if he is managing any Facebook page, he replied that the only active page right now is his business page which has nothing to do with politics or his personal life.
Ignacio also said his official Facebook account was "disabled by Facebook" this January "without clear reasons."
Duterte appointed Ignacio to OWWA on January 25, 2018. – Glenda Marie Castro/Rappler.com
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