CEBU City Councilor Ronald Cuenco is seeking the appropriation of some P10 million for medicines for the barangay health centers, after learning that the health centers have run out of supplies.

Providing medicines for the health centers is seen to reduce the number of people going to City Hall for the medical assistance program, for which the City spends P700,000 for the medicines alone every day.

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Although the City Hospital and Medical Program (Champ) is able to cater to the constituents’ medical needs, Cuenco wants to buy medicines for the health centers so the people in the barangays don’t have to go to City Hall and to the pharmacies to get medicines.

Insufficient

The City’s executive department is seeking an additional P30 million for the Champ, but the councilor said this will not be enough to sustain the program until December, much less to fund the medicines for the health centers.

Of the P30 million, P26 million is already obligated for payment to the pharmacies for the previous months’ supply of medicines for the Champ.

“What I think is that, instead of going to the pharmacy, we’d rather put the medicines in the health centers...Let’s hasten the release of the medicines so it won’t cause additional burden to the people, so they don’t have to come here to City Hall and spend for their fare just to get medicines,” Cuenco said.

The first-term councilor plans to talk to the Commission on Audit and the City Accounting Office on how to facilitate the proper accounting of the medicines if they are entrusted to the health centers.

No more medicines

In a recent meeting, City Health Department (CHD) Head Dr. Fe Cabugao reported to Cuenco that the health centers have run out of medicines.

“I talked to Dr. Cabugao and I found out that there are no more medicines in our health centers, so our constituents now depend on the Champ. I still have to talk to Mayor Rama to request for an initial amount of P10 million to be included in the next supplemental budget,” said Cuenco.

Meanwhile, he assured beneficiaries of the scholarship program of his father, former Rep. Antonio Cuenco, that the program will continue, this time under the office of Rep. Tomas Osmeña (Cebu City, south).

Cuenco said Mayor Michael Rama and Osmeña agreed to continue the program, which could be funded by the congressman’s Priority Development Assistance Fund.