HEALTHCARE SERVICES. Senatorial candidate Jose Victor "JV" Ejercito faces the media in a press conference in a Cebu City uptown hotel on Monday (May 2, 2022). Ejercito pledged to work for the establishment of lung, kidney, heart, and cancer centers in Cebu once he got elected again as a senator. (PNA photo by John Rey Saavedra)

CEBU CITY ­– Senatorial candidate Jose Victor “JV” Ejercito on Monday said he will work for the establishment of lung, kidney, heart, and cancer centers in Cebu that will cater to the specialized healthcare needs of the residents in the Central Visayas region.

Ejercito told reporters in a press conference here that he is the principal sponsor and author of Republic Act 11223 or the Universal Health Care (UHC) Act of 2019 which, apart from the mandatory coverage in the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), also mandates the establishment of 16 specialty centers.

He said he wants these different specialized healthcare centers to be established in the regional hospital, the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center to cater to patients from Bohol and other provinces in Region 7.

“One of my missions is to finish the Universal Health Care Law of which I am the principal sponsor and author of this landmark legislation. Although it was passed in 2019, it’s a work in progress,” Ejercito said, as he hinted that the “presence of the principal sponsor is very much helpful in the implementation of the program".

The law also decreed the investments for government-run special health facilities that are critical to complement primary care and hospital-based general health services.

Under RA 11223, there will be 16 specialties to be established, among them are the special centers for lung, kidney, heart, and cancer patients.

He said if these specialized centers are strategically established in every region, patients from the provinces will no longer have to travel to Metro Manila to avail of the services that they need.

The senatorial candidate also said among the reasons he wants to return to the Senate is to ensure the implementation of “zero-balance” hospital billing for indigent Filipinos, senior citizens, and persons with disabilities (PWD), among others.

The UHC law ensures that all Filipinos are guaranteed equitable access to quality and affordable health care goods and services.

President Rodrigo Duterte signed it into law on Feb. 20, 2019.

Ejercito, son of former President and Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada and a member of the Nationalist People's Coalition (NPC), was in Cebu on Monday to ask Cebuano voters to support his senatorial comeback bid. (PNA)