THE residents of Cebu City can avail themselves again of the free medical assistance of the City Government as it will resume this week, but with changes, an official said.

Marivic Alolod, in-charge of the approval of the requests for free medicines, said the medical program for the City was turned over yesterday to the Office of the Mayor.

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In a closed door meeting, Alolod said Councilors Jose Daluz III and Jun Pe have now given the responsibility of facilitating the approval of the free medicine requests under the office of Mayor Michael Rama after it was suspended last week.

The program was put on hold since last Thursday after City Hall’s P49-million funding for the medical program ran out.

Requests

Since the start of the free medical assistance to the city’s residents last year, Pe and Daluz were the ones handling the processing of requests for the residents of north and south districts, respectively.

As it has been turned-over to the Office of the Mayor, the medical program will now be handled by Belinda Navascues, who is Rama’s newly-appointed secretary.

In an interview with Sun.Star Cebu, Alolod said the letter of authority from the City, which is issued to the patients, will now need the signature of Navascues before it will be presented to the four accredited pharmacies implementing the City’s program.

These pharmacies are the Pro-Poor Pharmacy, Dominic Pharmacy, Del Pharmacy and the Vicente Sotto Medical Center’s (VSMMC) pharmacy.

Under the medical program of the City, residents are entitled to P5,000 worth of medicines. The City will also shoulder the first P25,000 of the patients’ hospital bills.

Invitation

Meanwhile, Alolod said they are inviting other pharmacies to join the medical program of the City.

Daluz, in a separate interview, said one requirement for the pharmacies to join the program is to honor the letter of authority given by the City to the patients. Another requirement, Daluz said, is that their medicines must be cheaper.

According to the councilor, the City will pay the pharmacies 90 days after the date of billing.

The Office of the Mayor is currently fine-tuning the system of processing and facilitating the approval of the requests for medicines.