Maximizing the space for civil society voices, AltDev co-sponsored a multi-stakeholder workshop on Universal Health Care.
In an effort to continue the call for a comprehensive Universal Health Care (UHC) system in the country, a multi-stakeholder consultation of civil society groups, medical practitioners, and professionals was co-sponsored from March 19 to 20, 2018 by the University of the Philippines Center for Integrative and Development Studies (UP CIDS) Program on Alternative Development (AltDev).
The gathering was an opportunity for the broader civil society to take a closer study on the several versions of UHC Bill pending in Congress which is one of the priority legislations included in the Legislative-Executive Advisory Council list for the 2nd regular session of the 17th Congress.
This activity, mainly organized by ABI Health Cluster – Social Watch Philippines, was to recognize the significant role of peoples’ participation in shaping national policies such as the UHC Bill. Through a 2-day discussion and workshop, participants were able to develop their critique, positions, and recommendation on the UHC Bill, as well as strategize their upcoming plan to critically engage the legislators on this pending bill.
Civil society representatives in the workshop reiterated their campaign for a UHC that adheres to the principles of primary health care, by putting more emphasis on health as a human and constitutional right. With that recognition, they stressed that “every Filipino shall be entitled to healthy living, working, schooling conditions and access to needed promotive, preventive, curative, rehabilitative and palliative health services” that is of sufficient quality and effectivity and should be based on health needs and not on one’s ability to pay health services or providers.
In September 2017, the House of Representatives approved House Bill 5784 or an “An Act Providing for a Universal Health Care Coverage for All Filipinos and Appropriating Funds Therefore.” A counterpart bill, SB 1458, was also filed in the Senate last year. To date, with two other recently filed UHC bills in the Upper House, the Senate Committee on Health is already conducting regional public hearings and consultations.
* Photo credit to Fe Manapat of WomanHealth