MANILA, January 3, 2017 (PNA) — The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has issued a memo to mobilize its field offices in Central Luzon, Western and Central Visayas, Davao, and the National Capital Region (NCR) to provide medicine assistance to indigent patients.
Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo issued Memorandum Circular No. 16 following President Rodrigo Duterte’s pronouncement that he will allocate P1 billion to the DSWD for medical assistance for the poor.
President Duterte, very much aware of the high costs of medicines and the numerous indigent patients who cannot afford to buy prescription drugs, allocated P1 billion to the President’s Social Fund to enable these patients to access badly needed medicines,” Taguiwalo said.
She also said the President instructed the DSWD to formulate and implement the guidelines of the program.
Taguiwalo said the DSWD’s medical assistance will be under its Assistance to Individuals in Crisis (AICS), noting that the Department of Health (DOH) also has a Medical Assistance Program (MAP) that aids indigents seeking free consultations, rehabilitation, and examination of those confined in hospitals,
The AICS will extend assistance to the following:
- families or individuals who are indigent, vulnerable, disadvantaged
- those in the informal sector and poor, based on the DSWD Listahanan
- government employees and contract of services workers
- those who are facing crisis situations as determined by DSWD social workers, so they could secure prescription medicines.
Taguiwalo, however, said the program does not cover prescription medicine for drug dependents undergoing treatment or rehabilitation. “A separate program is being created for them,” she said.
The DSWD’s Crisis Intervention Unit (CIU) will facilitate the release of the medical assistance. The CIU is a special unit of the DSWD that serves as an action center that immediately responds to the needs of individuals and families in crisis situations.
The CIU is located at the central office, field offices, and satellite offices in the provinces.
The DSWD has yet to receive the P1 billion from Malacañang, but we are willing to foot the bill in the meantime so Filipinos who need immediate prescription medicines can access them ASAP,” Taguiwalo said.
As soon as the fund is available, the DSWD will oversee and manage it and the program. Five percent of the fund will be used for project management,” she added.
Taguiwalo also clarified that beneficiaries will not receive any cash but referral letters from the DSWD which the beneficiaries will take to DSWD partner drugstores and hospital pharmacies. (PNA)