DOH begins consultations for Universal Health Care law rules

Robie de Guzman   •   June 13, 2019   •   2404

The Department of Health (DOH) on Thursday began the public consultations for the drafting of the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the Universal Health Care (UHC) Act.

The DOH said the first public consultations for regions 1, 2 and Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) will be held in Baguio City from June 13 to 14.

The agency said the conduct of a series of public forums across the country aims to make the process of drafting the IRR inclusive and consultative.

“We want to hear from different stakeholders most especially the public because it is truly the Filipino people who will benefit from the UHC,” the DOH said in a statement posted on Twitter.

President Rodrigo Duterte signed the UHC into law last February 20.

The law makes all Filipinos members of Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (Philhealth), either as direct or indirect contributors, providing immediate eligibility and access to preventive, curative, rehabilitative and palliative care for medical and emergency health services.

The measure urges the private sector to help provide improved health benefit packages for Filipinos to reduce their expenses.

The DOH has been given 180 days to outline and complete the law’s implementing guidelines.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said they are now moving to fast track the implementation of the UHC law.

“It is a big undertaking and we’re now laying the groundwork for the sustainability and effectiveness of this reform that aims to address a number of gaps in our health system,” Duque said.

The DOH said the current draft of the IRR was put together with the help of various stakeholders and representatives from the public and private sector.

The agency said the public consultation for Visayas and Mindanao areas will be announced in the coming weeks through DOH official social media accounts.

The DOH earlier expressed confidence it will be able to finish the draft before the 180 days and the law’s implementing rules will be available by July or August this year.

DOH Region 3: Over 100 Chinese workers, now dengue free

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 21, 2019

The Department of Health (DOH) Region 3 has reported that the over 100 Chinese workers who contracted dengue in Morong, Bataan are now free of the disease.

The Chief of the Regional Epidemiology Surveillance Unit of DOH Region 3 Dr. Jessie Fantone said 69 of the Chinese workers have contracted dengue last March. The remaining 35 were reported to have contracted the diseases this August.

“All of them got well and wala namang namatay. Kaya lang noong pinuntahan namin iyong plant nila marami silang areas na stagnant water na breeding sites (There were no fatalities, but when we visited their plant, there was a lot of stagnant water which can be become breeding sites),” he said.

Meanwhile, cleaning operations continue at the barangay where the coal plant is located.—AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

Leptospirosis case now over 900; NKTI gym, converted into leptos ward

Maris Federez   •   August 20, 2019

The National Kidney and Transplant Institute (NKTI) has turned its gymnasium into an alternative ward for leptospirosis patients.

This is to accommodate patients with leptospirosis and be provided with immediate treatment for the deadly disease.

The Department of Health (DOH) said the recent rains that caused flooding had contributed to the increase in the number of leptospirosis patients in Metro Manila alone.

To date, the DOH has recorded 106 fatalities and more than 900 cases of leptospirosis. 300 of which are from the NCR.

“It’s really a problem because you know the environmental, sanitation and hygiene do affect the health of our people because the local government, for example, do not do their efficient garbage collection, so certainly it raises the risk of the populace,” DOH Sec. Francisco Duque added.

This, however, is still low compared to what was recorded last year in the last 2 years.

The DOH then urged the public to maintain cleanliness in their respective surroundings to prevent leptospirosis. (with details from Mai Bermudez) /mbmf

DOLE vows to release IRR of service charge law soon

Robie de Guzman   •   August 20, 2019

Hotel attendant

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is eyeing to release the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the Republic Act 11360 or the Service Charge Law soon.

In a statement, Labor Secretary Silvestro Bello III assured they will fast track the crafting of the IRR to release it within the 90-day period.

“We have 90 days to craft the IRR but we don’t intend to maximize it, instead we hope to come up with it as soon as possible so our workers in hotels and restaurants can finally receive reasonable incentives from their hard work and quality services,” Bello said.

The law, signed by President Rodrigo Duterte last August 7, requires restaurants, hotels, and similar establishments to distribute service charges in full among their rank and file and supervisory employees.

The law amended Article 96 of the Labor Code, which only provides workers with 85 percent of the service charge collection while the remaining 15 percent are for the management.

“The law will keep our workers in the hotel and restaurants motivated in providing quality services, as well as a chance to give them a simple reward for their hard work,” Bello said.

Under the new law, all service charges shall be distributed completely and equally among the covered workers, except managerial employees.

It also mandates the establishment of a grievance mechanism to resolve any dispute between employees and the management on the distribution of the service charge.

DOLE said workers can fully receive their equal distribution from the full collected service charges 15 days after the publication of its IRR in a newspaper of general circulation. 

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