The National Academy of Science and Technology, Philippines (NAST PHL) commends the signing of a law that will provide health care assistance and coverage to all Filipinos.

Last February 20, 2019, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte signed the Universal Healthcare Act that will provide all Filipinos access to health products and services and will automatically enroll them to the National Health Insurance Program (NHIP). The law ensures that all Filipinos will have a guaranteed access to various health services and affordable health products.

It can be remembered that during its 38th Annual Scientific Meeting (ASM) last July 2016, the NAST PHL, through its ASM Resolutions, called on the President to include all Filipinos to a Universal Healthcare mechanism, which was also known as “Kalusugang Pangkalahatan”.

Considering the gargantuan task of pooling funds for an inclusive healthcare program, NAST PHL also identified potential funding sources such as contributions from the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), proceeds from the increased excise taxes in liquor and tobacco (sin taxes), and revenues from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR).

In one of his interviews with the Philippine Daily Inquirer last 2013, NAST PHL member and National Scientist Ernesto O. Domingo, M.D. expressed his utmost desire for a universal healthcare in the country.

“I have only one dream left—that eventually we will be able to fully implement universal healthcare. That should be our dream, all of us,” Domingo said.

A recipient of the highly-coveted Ramon Magsaysay Award and a gastroenterologist by profession, Domingo has been advocating for the universal health care act from time immemorial. He was a founding member of the Universal Healthcare study group established in 2008 that studied and pushed for the passage of the said bill. The group campaigned for the adoption of its “Blueprint for Universal Healthcare” during the administration of President Benigno Aquino III.

With the passage of the universal healthcare act, the NAST PHL believes that a new chapter in the fulfillment of the health sector’s dream has begun.

The National Academy of Science and Technology, Philippines (NAST PHL) is an attached agency to the Department of Science and Technology, mandated by law (E.O. 818, s.1982) to advise the President and the Cabinet on matters related to science and technology.