MANILASenator Joseph Victor Ejercito on Tuesday lauded President Rodrigo Duterte for certifying as urgent the proposed Universal Health Care bill, saying he is now looking forward to the swift passage of the crucial anti-poverty bill once Congress resumes session on July 23.
"I applaud President Rodrigo Duterte's decision to certify the bill as urgent. Hoping to be able to defend and pass this landmark legislation once we resume session," he said in a statement.
Duterte issued the certification during the 27th Cabinet meeting on Monday night.
The House of Representatives has already passed its version of the universal health coverage bill in September last year while its counterpart legislation is still pending at the Senate Committee on Health headed by Ejercito.
With the certification, the Senate could immediately subject the bill to third and final reading once lawmakers approve it on second reading.
Bills that are certified as urgent by the President do not follow the three-day rule between the second and third reading.
Under the rules, both the Senate and the House of Representatives may only vote on third reading any bill already passed on second reading after copies of the proposed measure are given to lawmakers at least three days before the final voting.
In pushing for its passage, Ejercito stressed that the universal health care bill is integral to the government's anti-poverty drive.
"The bill on universal health care is intended to uplift the health condition of every Filipino by providing efficient, quality, and accessible health services to Filipinos," he said.
Ensuring good health for Filipinos is crucial to economic development because ensuring the well-being of all Filipinos means that they can be more productive, which further means they can better overcome poverty," Ejercito said.
He cited that among the pro-poor provisions under the proposed measure is the automatic inclusion of every Filipino into the National Health Insurance Program.
Ejercito said this provision is especially beneficial for poor Filipinos and those who live in far-flung areas currently not reached by government's health service.
He added that the present situation makes the passage of the Universal Health Care bill even more critical.
With prices of fuel, transportation, and basic goods skyrocketing, the passage of the bill will mean a lot to Filipino families in terms of improving their quality of life, Ejercito said. (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency