PCSO to give P8-B to PhilHealth for UHC implementation
By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan
MANILA (Philippines News Agency) — The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) will give PHP8 billion to the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) in compliance with President Rodrigo Duterte’s Universal Healthcare (UHC) Program.
“The agency will give 40 percent from the 30 percent of our Charity Fund, which is about PHP8 billion, for Universal Healthcare Program on the third quarter of this year,” General Manager Alexander Balutan said in a press conference Tuesday.
The UHC will catalyze reforms for the country’s health care system, particularly strengthening primary care services through PhilHealth.
It will also ensure adequate funding through the Department of Health (DOH) annual budget, revenues from sin taxes, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp., PCSO, and PhilHealth members’ contribution.
In 2018, PCSO provided assistance to a total of 528,190 patients under its Individual Medical Assistance Program (IMAP), spending about PHP10.2 billion for hospitalization, request for medicines, chemo and dialysis sessions, laboratory and diagnostic procedures.
Balutan added that the agency is set to construct its own Corporate Center to be located at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City to decongest its extension office at the Lung Center of the Philippines, which is catering to about 700 patients per day.
“Hopefully, we can start this by next year and we will be able to hold a bidding. We will add five or six more branch offices. We will continue to help our indigent patients nationwide. We shall maintain the IMAP program. Though the UHC law is in place, the PCSO will help raise funds for PhilHealth,” he said.
The PCSO Charter, or Republic Act No. 1169, provides that 55 percent of the net receipts shall be set aside as a prize fund (payment of prizes), 30 percent as charity fund (various charity programs and services), and 15 percent as operating fund (maintenance and operating expenses).
The charity fund is divided into 60 percent for IMAP and other charity programs, such as ambulance donation, calamity assistance, medical and dental mission, and others; while 40 percent for mandatory contributions of PCSO to almost 28 government agencies, such as the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, Philippine Sports Commission, Commission on Higher Education, among others. (PNA)