Duterte certifies UHC, rice tariffication bills as urgent

MANILA President Rodrigo R. Duterte on Wednesday certified the passage of the Universal Health Care and the Rice Tariffication bills as urgent.

The two measures meant to provide Filipinos with more comfortable lives.

MalacaAang released a copy of Duterte's certification for both bills contained in the President's letters to House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Senate President Vicente "Tito" Sotto III dated Oct. 10.

Pursuant to the provision of Article VI, Section 26 (2) of the 1987 Constitution, I hereby certify to the necessity of the immediate enactment of Senate Bill No. 1896, Duterte's letters to Arroyo and Sotto read.

Senate Bill No. 1896 is entitled: An Act Instituting Universal Health Care for All Filipinos, Prescribing Reforms in the Health Care System, Appropriating Funds Therefor, and for the Other Purpose.

In his letter, Duterte said the bill is meant to address the urgent need for an affordable, comprehensive, and quality health care program that is accessible to all Filipinos.

Duterte's certification came after the Senate approved the Universal Health Care for all Filipinos Act.

The measure automatically enrolls all Filipino citizens, including overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), into the PhilHealth, whether as direct contributor (those who have the capacity to pay premiums) or indirect contributor (those sponsored by the government like the indigents, senior citizens, among others).

For indirect contributors, premium subsidy shall be included annually in the General Appropriations Act (GAA).

PhilHealth coverage would also be expanded to include free consultation fees, laboratory tests and other diagnostic services.

Duterte also certified the Rice Tariffication Bill as urgent, a day after he approved the unimpeded importation of rice as part of government efforts to combat rising inflation and lower prices.

Pursuant to the provisions of Article VI, Section 26 (2) of the 1987 Constitution, I hereby certify to the necessity of the immediate enactment of Senate Bill No. 1998, Duterte's letters further read.

Senate Bill No. 1998 is entitled: An Act Replacing the Quantitative Import Restrictions on Rice with Tariffs, Lifting the Quantitative Export Restrictions on Rice, and Creating the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund, Amending for the Purpose Republic Act. No. 8178, as Amended by Republic Act No. 9496 and as further Amended by Republic Act No. 10848, and for Other Purposes.

In his letter, Duterte said the measure is meant to address the urgent need to improve availability of rice in the country, prevent artificial rice shortages, reduce the prices of rice in the market, and curtail the prevalence of corruption and cartel domination in the rice industry. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency