COMMITMENT. Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson (2nd from right) and Dr. Ernell Tumimbang, provincial health officer, with Provincial Administrator Rayfrando Diaz II (right) and Dr. Gerlie Pinongan, head of Hospital Operations Department, after the signing of the Universal Health Care pledge of commitment during the UHC Summit held at the Central Hall, Ayala Malls Capitol Central in Bacolod City on Thursday (Nov. 24, 2022). “There is no time more fitting to robustly implement the UHC Act than now,” Lacson said in his message. (PNA photo by Nanette L. Guadalquiver)

BACOLOD CITY – Government officials and health workers of Negros Occidental have vowed to support the Republic Act 11223, also known as the Universal Health Care (UHC) Act, towards its full implementation by 2026.

Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson and Dr. Ernell Tumimbang, provincial health officer, led the signing of the pledge of commitment during the province’s UHC Summit held at the Central Hall, Ayala Malls Capitol Central on Thursday.

“We, the officials and healthcare workers, together with the implementing key agencies and stakeholders of the Province of Negros Occidental pledge and commit to engage and support the implementation of the UHC Law,” it read.

The pledge added that “with all its intent and purposes (it would) provide good governance and financial risk protection, thereby improving health outcomes of our constituents”.

In his message, Lacson said “there is no time more fitting to robustly implement the UHC Act than now”, after it was signed into law in 2019.

“Although the pandemic was totally upsetting and unwelcome, it presented an opportunity to re-evaluate and reconsider our methods, and in the process find an alternative and effective means in the delivery of our duties, services, and programs,” he added.

According to the Department of Health, with the UHC, all Filipinos are guaranteed equitable access to quality and affordable healthcare goods and services, and are protected against financial risk.

Among the law’s salient features are the expansion of population, service, and financial coverage through an array of health system amendments.

Tumimbang said Negros Occidental is now among the 72 UHC law implementation sites nationwide.

So far, the provincial government has already formed a technical working group assisting the local health board on matters relating to the local health system integration; crafted annual operation plans and the local investment plan for health; and strengthened and improved its referral system.

Also, 12 out of 31 rural health units in Negros Occidental have been accredited to offer the PhilHealth Konsulta, the primary care benefit package to which all Filipinos are entitled.

Negros Occidental has also formed the expanded Provincial Health Board chaired by Lacson as part of the UHC implementation. (PNA)