ANGELES CITY --- Vice-President Jejomar Binay has stressed the need for government to ensure that all Filipinos, even those in far-flung areas, get vaccinations, have access to vitamins, medicine and potable drinking water, and are educated on proper nutrition and sanitation.
"This must be done immediately. Let us go to them and bring to them preventive measures, instead of waiting for an epidemic to hit an area. Let us not be reactive but pro-active. Let us not wait for our Filipino brothers and sisters to end up as statistics as victims of malaria, pneumonia, tuberculosis, hepatitis, among others," Binay said.
Binay noted most illnesses are preventable through vaccination, education on health issues, and proper hygiene, among others. He also said the Department of Health and its regional or local offices must act faster so that health services are delivered on time.
"This is why we need a comprehensive health program for the people which includes nationwide vaccination, sanitation and proper nutrition programs. In line with this, health care services should reach our brothers and sisters in far-flung areas as fast as it reaches Filipinos in urban centers. I believe it can be done. And it must be done," Binay said.
The national government must tap all local government units in the fast implementation of the programs to ensure the well-being of every Filipino, particularly children and senior citizens.
He also wants health workers nationwide to be well cared for.
Binay said, "Kasing halaga nito ang pagbibigay kalinga at suporta sa ating mga health workers sa lahat ng antas. Pundasyon ng serbisyong panlipunan ang masiglang ekonomiya."
Binay lamented the finding of the Commission on Audit in its 2013 recently-released report on the Department of Health that the DOH failed to procure, deliver, distribute, use or complete on time P4.63 billion worth of equipment, infra-projects, and medicines. This, COA said, "prolonged and/or defeated the attainment of efficient, low cost but quality health care services to patients, and hospital income that may be derived therefrom, not to mention the lapse of the warranty period/expiry date, exposure to wear and tear or uncontrolled temperature that would diminish their value or potency; cost overruns and wastage of fund."
"Billions of pesos were wasted. I urge the DOH to comply with proper procedures and fast track delivery of medicines needed," Binay said.
He also emphasized the need to speed up the purchase of equipment and construction of infrastructure projects so these can immediately be used to address the health concerns of the people.
Binay noted COA has said "it is imperative for the head of the agency to institute measures to safeguard the assets and promote efficiency, effectiveness and economy in achieving the agency mandate."
COA also noted "The attainment of efficient, low cost but quality health care services to patients as well as the generation of income that may be used to augment the meager resources of the health facilities, not to mention the lapse of warranty period/expiry dates and deterioration, cost overruns and wastage of funds, were prolonged and/or defeated the purpose due to the protracted procurement, delivery/completion, distribution and utilization of equipment, infrastructure projects, and drugs/medicines."
The P4,634,058,266.71 budget was allotted for equipment (P626,050,087.49); facilities (P4,003,565,873.62); and drugs and medicines (P4,442,305.60).
"It is time to review the DOH health programs and re-align the budget towards preventing diseases," Binay said.
COA recommended that DOH "direct and ensure that the concerned DOH officials, in consultation with the intended beneficiaries, fast track the procurement, delivery/ completion, distribution/turn-over and utilization of the equipment, infra-projects, and drugs/medicines; and henceforth institute measures to prevent the delays by taking into consideration the causes for said delays."