CEBU

Malilong: Delayed relief for the sick and the sickly

The Other Side

THE shoe’s on the other foot.

After having banned travel from China and its administrative regions and from parts of South Korea, we now find ourselves on the receiving end of a similar restriction from Saudi Arabia for the same reason: preventing the spread of the coronavirus.

We will probably find it unfair that we should be lumped in the category of nations that are deemed risky of being disease carriers since we only had three cases of Covid-19 infections and none of them were locally contracted. But we can’t fault a nation for taking extraordinary measures in the same way that we took ours. Besides, what is there to visit in Saudi Arabia, anyway.

***

Three bank accounts of the slain alleged drug lord Franz Sabalones that were supposed to contain millions of pesos turned out to have only less than P10,000 left. Either he or his family or friends outsmarted the authorities and managed to withdraw most of the deposits or there were really no millions to speak of in the first place.

That is easy to check, of course. The banks have records of all transactions involving the accounts and the authorities only need to go over these records to find out how much money was left on what date, how much was withdrawn, assuming that any withdrawals were made and by whom.

I do not think the banks will refuse to show their records, especially since the accounts are the subject of a court freeze order. But in the event that they become uncooperative, the police or the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency can always seek the help of the court to compel them to do so.

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The cost of 87 types of medicine will be cheaper starting May 18 this year when President Duterte’s Executive Order (EO) 104 takes effect, SunStar Cebu reported Thursday, March 5, 2020.

For people who are on maintenance drugs, the reduction is a welcome relief. Drug and medicines indeed contribute to the huge out-of-pocket health expenditure of Filipinos.

EO 104 is a post-Valentine’s day gift from the President. issued on Feb. 17, it was to take effect after its publication in the official gazette or a newspaper of general circulation. Apparently, publication is being delayed for some reason (as a concession to drug manufacturers?). Otherwise, the President’s order would have become effective earlier than May 18.

An earlier date of implementation would have immensely benefited EO 104’s targets: the significant number of Filipinos that expensive health care, including costly medicines, have pushed to poverty and discouraged from seeking the appropriate medical treatment, “thereby increasing the morbidity and mortality rates across the different socio-economic classes.”

One may argue that May 18 is only about two months away so why not wait a little longer. So we will wait because we have no choice even if it means spending money that we could have saved. The President wanted his gift to be immediately felt but alas bureaucratic red tape has not made it so.


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