Press Release
December 16, 2015


SENATOR Teofisto "TG" Guingona III, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, moves to make the Filipino culture of caring for the family--in health, in sickness, and in death--a fundamental element of the Philippine Health Care system through Senate Bill (S.B.) No. 3008.

Otherwise known as the Palliative and Hospice Care Act, Guingona's proposed measure aims to provide a multidisciplinary care that improves the quality of life of patients and their families who are confronted with problems associated with life-threatening illness.

"The practice of palliative and hospice care has been long embedded in the Filipino way of life. We go out of our way to ease the suffering of family members battling serious health conditions, kultura natin ito e," Guingona explained.

The proposed legislation acknowledges the call of the World Health Assembly to recognize palliative care as a core component of integrated, people-centered health services, rather than an optional service. Under the bill, palliative and hospice care will be included into the structure and financing of the Philippine Health Care system by:

  • Strengthening and expanding human resources, including training of existing health professionals, embedding palliative care into the core curricula of all new health professionals, and educating volunteers and the public

  • Encouraging the development of home-based palliative and hospice care programs at the grassroots level, which would increase the poor's access to quality health service

  • Directing PhilHealth to increase its present benefit package to include in-patient palliative services, outpatient hospice care and home-based palliative care

"Let us give our sick or elderly loved ones the chance to ease into the end of life comfortably and painlessly, as much as possible. Toward the end of their journey, let us make them feel that we have done the most that we can for them," Guingona stated.

Meanwhile, Dr. Agnes Bausa-Claudio, President of National Hospice and Palliative Care Council of the Philippines, cited that only few palliative and hospice care services exist in the country and expressed their support of the bill.

"Suffering an unbearable pain, the illnesses cause the patient and many nights of emotional anguish and psychological distress it causes the family. Also, people at the prime of their life and career who may have affected by this disease that is progressive and incurable and prognosis is poor, they suffer all the same. . . Thank you [Sen. Guingona] for the recognition also accorded to the National Hospice and Palliative Care Council of the Philippines as a vital partner in moving this legislation forward to its full realization in the lives of our countrymen," Claudio stated.

Furthermore, the Palliative and Hospice Care Act recognizes the effort and sacrifices of immediate family members or relatives who must absent themselves from work to look after critically-ill loved ones. Per S.B. 3008, the family member providing palliative and hospice care shall be allowed to use all existing leave benefits granted by employers, public or private, subject to guidelines on the use of the said benefits.

Guingona also called for a technical working group to hammer out the inputs of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) regarding the existing and proposed leave benefits for these carers.

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