THOUSANDS of people in Cagayan de Oro will lose their state-subsidized health insurance by September.

This worried not only city officials but also the Misamis Oriental Capitol.

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The recipients, numbering some 17,000 indigents from the first district, are covered of PhilHealth insurance for a year through the pork barrel of then Representative Rolando Uy, who launched an unsuccessful mayoral bid in the last elections.

The coverage expires next month with no counterpart funds in sight. 

Governor Oscar Moreno said the Capitol can, in one way or another, “help the local government tackle the problem,” but immediately added he would like to hear first City Hall’s plan on the matter.


The governor said Uy, along with other opposition leaders in the city, sought Capitol’s help on the problem last week. 

“We can help but we have to know first the city government’s plan on these 17,000 indigents, who are about to lose coverage,” Moreno said.


City Hall, however, may not be financially capable of taking in additional coverage as it has already 50,000 indigents in its list, said City Councilor Dante B. Pajo, chairman of the Health committee. 

“We have already 50,000 recipients from both districts who our topmost priority,” Councilor Pajo told Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro Monday.


But the councilor said the situation may be remedied if Uy would make formal request for coverage to City Hall. He did not elaborate. 

Pajo said another option is to have the expiring PhilHealth insurance funded by Uy’s successor, Representative Jose Benjamin A. Benaldo. 

In a phone interview, Benaldo said he is “very willing” to continue the coverage through his congressional allocation. However, the lawmaker said he has yet to determine whether his current appropriations would allow this, pointing out that House members have not yet received their respective budget. 

Aside from PhilHealth coverage, Benaldo said he “continues the other projects of the former congressman.” 

Mayor Vicente Emano had earlier accused Moreno of meddling into City Hall’s affairs because the latter was purportedly angling for a mayoral bid in the city in the next elections. 

Moreno, who remains coy with his political plans after his term expires in 2013, said he only broached the rather politically-sensitive subject after his help was sought by Uy, City Councilors Roger Abaday and Edgar Cabanlas.


The governor said the three, along with ex-councilor Teodulfo Lao, paid him a visit last Wednesday. 

PhilHealth members are entitled to subsidies when they or their declared dependents are hospitalized. These include subsidies for hospital room and board fees from P300 to P1,100 per day for up to 45 days per year; drugs and medicines from P2,700 to P40,000 and subsidies for X-ray and other laboratory exams from P1,600 to P30,000 per single period of confinement; use of operating room complex and even professional fees of attending physicians.


Under Moreno, Capitol has been acknowledged for its near-universal PhilHealth coverage of indigents in the province. (Annabelle L. Ricalde & Nicole J. Managbanags)