The Department of Health (DOH) today called on the different government agencies and development partners to support the DOH’s efforts to achieve President Benigno Aquino’s priority agenda of universal health care (or Kalusugang Pangkalahatan) within the next three years.

“It is ironic that millions of people continue to die needlessly from diseases whose cures and treatments have long been discovered, adding that the availability of all sorts of treatment modalities has made health care, especially personal health care, a cause of poverty and impoverishment instead of being a critical component in its alleviation,” Health Secretary Enrique Ona said.

Kalusugang Pangkalahatan is the government’s health agenda to address the inequities that exist especially in access to health care. It is primarily focused on three strategic thrusts, namely 1) financial risk protection through expansion in National Health Insurance Program enrollment and benefit delivery, 2) improved access to modern hospitals and health facilities, 3) attainment of health related Millennium Development Goals which are all aimed at improving access of the poor and the near poor to quality health care.

Ona’s call was made during the three-day DOH-led Presidential Forum and Senior Policy Seminar on Health Financing & Universal Health Care which was organized to increase the awareness of various stakeholders on the issues surrounding the government’s health agenda. International and local health care reform experts shared their knowledge and experience on similar health reform initiatives both here and abroad.  Participants included senior officials of the Departments of Finance, Budget & Management, Social Work & Development, and the National Economic Development Authority, PhilHealth; Representatives of the Legislative Committees on Health & Finance/Appropriations; Local Chief Executives; former DOH secretaries; the academe; medical societies, and other stakeholders.

Development partners such as the World Bank, US Agency for International Development, the World Health Organization, European Union, GiZ, AECID, UNFPA, UNAIDS, the global Providers for Health (P4H) network, JICA and others  also took part in this milestone event.

Mr. Bert Hofman, World Bank Philippine Country Director, who gave the opening remarks on behalf of development partners, underscored the need for building a common policy and implementation framework supported by stakeholders in health for achieving universal health.

The Regional Director of the World Health Organization Western Pacific Region, Dr. Shin Young-Soo, noted that with the political commitment for universal health care at the highest levels, a social health insurance that covers at present half of the Filipino population and a health system that can provide reasonable care to most areas of the country, a “final push” is needed to make health care accessible to more Filipinos through reducing high out of pocket expenses.

Ona mentioned that there are challenges in implementing health care financing and delivery reforms in an extremely decentralized health system and added that a robust policy framework which has the support of key stakeholders and catalyzes major changes in PhilHealth will be critical.

“Political will is the key to achieving the reforms. Now that we know what to do, let’s just do it,” concluded the Health Chief.-30- DOH




A total of 546 injuries were reported from December 21-31 last year. This was 34 or 7% more cases compared to those reported in the same period last year (512).

Of this number, 518 (95%) were due to firework injuries, 20 (4%) to stay bullet injuries and 8 (1%) to firework ingestion/poisoning.

Among those who sustained firework injuries, 408 (79%) were males. Ages of cases ranged from 1 year-74 years (median 14 years).

The top 3 regions with the most umber of injuries were theNational Capital Region (301 or 58%), Ilocos (35 or 7%) andWestern Visayas (29 or 6%). There was one death due to intentional piccolo ingestion.

There were 301 (58%) active users. Among active users who are 18 and above, 52 (38%) were under the influence of alcohol. Thirty-one (6%) had amputations, 84 (16%) sustained eye injuries and the rest 403 (78%) had burns/blast wounds. -30- DOH

DENR moves to resolve abandoned cadastral survey projects


In a move to fast track the cadastral survey of all cities and municipalities nationwide, Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje issued new guidelines on the final disposition of abandoned cadastral survey projects.


At the same time, Paje directed all regional officials to conduct an inventory of abandoned cadastral survey projects and establish a database to facilitate the determination of needed actions to complete the undertaking.


“Among the concerns of the present administration of President Benigno S. Aquino III is to fast-track the nationwide cadastral survey.  This is in support of other critical projects of the government, such as land titling, land use planning, taxation and the internal revenue allotment (IRA) program for the different municipalities nationwide,” DENR Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje said.


Paje, however, said the nationwide cadastral survey program is hindered by some abandoned survey projects which the government has contracted out with private surveyors.


“DENR Administrative Order No. 2011-05, which sets the new guidelines on the disposal of abandoned cadastral survey projects, is intended not only to systematize the process of resolving this issue of abandoned or incomplete cadastral survey projects but also to facilitate the development of a database that can also serve as a monitoring tool as it can be updated anytime,” Paje explained.


Cadastral survey is a type of land survey intended to determine the administrative boundary of a city or a municipality and its component barangays.  It also includes the determination of administrative boundary of lots in alienable and disposable lands of the public domain for purposes of land titling.


Paje said the DENR is set to complete the survey of 263 more municipalities and 18 cities with total coverage of 6,312, 932 hectares during year.


Records from the Land Management Bureau indicated that from 2007 to 2010, some 104 cities and 780 municipalities, with accumulated area of 16,898,210 hectares, already have complete and approved cadastral survey results, while some 294 municipalities and 12 cities with total land area of 6,718,043 hectares are partially surveyed.


“This leaves us with 45 municipalities to target in the coming years, and those that have been left abandoned,” Paje said.


Among other things, the DENR order provides for the procedures in handling abandoned cadastral surveys, including incomplete projects, projects with uncorrected survey returns, unfinished survey projects either due to the death of the contractor or force majeure.


Under the order, a cadastral survey project is considered abandoned under the following conditions:  1) when field activities are left unfinished after the period stipulated in the contract, 2) when the contractors fail to correct survey defects within the period to be determined by the DENR regional office, and 3)  when such cadastral project awarded in earlier DENR cadastral programs is listed as “not completed” in the DENR inventory.


Paje said he has given the regional executive director (RED) of the DENR the authority to cancel abandoned cadastral survey projects and to determine the appropriate sanctions to be imposed on the contractor.

Among the grounds where the RED can imposition sanctions against an erring contractor or geodetic engineer include the following: failure to complete the survey within the contract period; failure to undertake the necessary correction of the survey projects within the prescribed period; failure to return survey project records; and other violations on other provisions in the contract. -30- DENR, PAO


Walang fee o voluntary contribution na requirement o kondisyon para sa enrollment o graduation ng mga estudyante sa public schools sa Quezon City .

Sa panukalang ordinansa na inihain ni Councilor Ranulfo Ludovica, gagawing labag sa batas sa mga school authorities at miyembro ng Parents-Teachers Association (PTAs) sa mga public schools sa QC na ipilit ang pagpapabayad ng anumang fee o voluntary contribution bago o bilang kondisyon sa enrollment at graduation ng estudyante.

Ayon sa konsehal, may mga kontribusyon na pinapayagan ang Department of Education (DepEd) na makolekta mula sa mga magulang at estudyante tulad ng boy/girl scouts membership, anti-TB fund drive, PTCA, school publication at membership sa student organizations, subalit pawang boluntaryo lamang ito at hindi kondisyon sa admission o graduation ng estudyante sa anumang eskwuwelahan.

Sinabi ni Ludovica,  presidente ng QC Liga ng mga Barangay, na may mga opisyal ng eskuwelahan at PTA members na ginagawang mandatoryo ang koleksyon ng kontribusyon o fees bago ang enrollment o graduation.

Upang mapigil ang ganitong gawi, nagpalabas ang DepEd ng kautusan para sa pagpapatupad ng “No collection policy” sa lahat ng public elementary at secondary schools.

Subalit sa kabila ng kautusan, may mga paaralan at PTA members ang patuloy sa pag-oobliga sa pagkolekta ng kontribusyon.

Sinabi ni Ludovica na ang ganitong aktibidad ng ilang paaralan ay nagresulta sa patuloy na pagtaas ng bilang ng out-of-school youth na nakaapekto na rin sa public order and safety at pagdami ng  street children sa Metro Manila.

Sa ilalim ng panukala, ang pinuno o principal at PTA president ay inaatasang maglagay sa bulletin board ng school fees at voluntary contributions na babayaran ng magulang o estudyante sa boluntaryong paraan.

Multang P5,000 o pagkakakulong ng isang taon, o pareho depende sa desisyon ng korte, ang ipapataw sa mga lalabag dito.

Kapag ang pinuno ng paaralan o principal at PTA president ay lumabag sa paglalagay ng impormasyon sa bulletin board ay pagmumultahin naman ito ng P1,000. -30- Divine/ Maureen Quinones, PAISO


There should be “no fees nor voluntary contributions” for the enrollment or graduation of students in any public schools in Quezon City.

In a proposed ordinance filed by Councilor Ranulfo Ludovica, it will be unlawful for school authorities and members of Parents-Teachers Association (PTAs) in public schools in QC to require the payment of any fee or voluntary contribution prior to or as a condition for enrollment or graduation of students.

The councilor said that there are contributions allowed by the Department of Education (DepEd) to be collected from parents or students such as the boy/girl scouts membership, anti-TB fund drive, PTCA, school publication and membership in student organizations, but the same are on a voluntary basis and cannot be used as a requirement for the admission or graduation of students in schools.

Ludovica, who is also president of the QC Liga ng mga Barangay, said that there are some erring school authorities and PTA members who also make mandatory the collection of fees and contributions which should be given only on voluntary basis.

To thwart the said practices of some erring school authorities and PTA members, DepEd has issued an order for the implementation of “No collection policy” in all public elementary and secondary schools.

But, in pite of the said order, some school authorities and PTA members remain uncurbed in their practice of making the authorized contributions compulsory.

Ludovica said that these nefarious and illegal activities of some school authorities and PTA members have resulted in the continued increase in the number of our-of-school youth which is adversely affecting public order and safety and contributing to the problem of having so many street children in the metropolis.

Under the proposal, the school head or principal and the PTA president are mandated to post the school fees and voluntary contributions to be paid by students or parents in a bulletin board with a notification written in bold letters that the said fees are “on voluntary basis.”

A fine of P5,000 or an imprisonment of 1 year, or both at the discretion of the court, will be imposed on violators (school authorities and PTA members) of this ordinance.

If the school head/principal and PTA president violated the posting of the information, he/she will be fined P1,000. -30- Divine/ Maureen Quinones, PAISO


To help male residents of Quezon City detect early stages of prostate cancer, a lady lawmaker has urged the City Health Department to conduct prostate cancer screening using the Digital Rectal Examination (DRE).

QC Councilor Jessica Castelo-Daza said in a proposed resolution that prostate cancer tumors are slow-growing, thus survival rates are excellent when the disease is detected in its early stages.

It is therefore advisable, she said,  that a medical examination and check-up including DRE should be conducted among men, especially those who are 40 years and older.

“A cancer of the prostate does not cause symptoms early because the malignant tumor usually develops in the outer portion of the prostate, and  therefore, does not cause blockage of the urethra. Even without symptoms, this form of early stage of the cancer may be detected during a medical examination. This is the reason why a regular check-up, including DRE, is very important even to those who show no symptoms, to catch prostate cancer before it spreads,” she explained.

The disease is a serious condition and life threatening especially if it is in the advanced stages, thus it is but right that our city government should offer health assistance through the conduct of prostate cancer screening using the DRE to male city residents, Councilor Daza said.

She added that health care is one of the basic services that the QC government must provide to QC residents. -30- Maureen Quinones, PAISO


A Quezon City councilor is seeking an immediate investigation into complaints that private hospitals are exacting payment from new nursing graduates who undergo the  training required by the nursing course curriculum.

Councilor Eden “Candy” Medina has filed a city council resolution asking the Nursing Board, the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC), and the Philippine Hospital Association (PHA) to investigate and act on complaints and reports that newly graduated nursing students now face a problem worse than unemployment – they are required to pay for their own training at hospitals.

Medina said that, according to reports reaching her office. Apart from on-the-job trainees (OJT), newly graduated nursing students on training in most private hospitals are required to pay P3,000 or more a month in order to work as trainees in the said hospitals.

“Aside from high tuition rates, nursing students are also paying hospitals in order to receive training, when in fact, they work as if they are regular employees of the said hospitals,” Medina said

The scheme, the councilor said is one reason why some hospitals are freezing  the hiring of new nurses, and instead, are accept OJT nursing students or new graduates to supplement the deficient number of nurses in their hospitals.

“Our constitution under Article 2, Section 18 provides that “The State affirms labor as a primary social economic force. It shall protect the rights of workers and promote their welfare,” the lady lawmaker said.

In this regard, Medina believed that the legislature and other pertinent government agencies, such as the Nursing Board, PRC and PHA should take the necessary steps to prevent hospitals from making “milking cows” out of the OJTs and new nursing graduates, and provide a training program and career progression program that will help our nurses cope with the demands of the real world. -30- Maureen Quinones, PAISO