Press Release
November 3, 2017


Senator Sonny Angara seeks to expand the government's free medicines program for poor families to include more hospitals especially in far-flung areas.

Under the earmarking provision of Senate Bill 1592 or the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN), which Angara sponsored as chairman of the ways and means committee, among the programs that the first tax reform package aims to fund is the expansion of the free medicines program for the poor.

"Poor Filipinos still face the problem of limited access to low-cost, safe, and quality essential medicines. It is our duty to make essential health services available to all Filipinos, giving priority to the needs of underprivileged patients," the senator said.

Currently, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has a total of 11 partner hospitals that are implementing the Libreng Gamot Para sa Masa Program (Lingap), which entitles poor patients to free medicine assistance.

The free medicine program is now available at the Philippine General Hospital, Jose Reyes Memorial Hospital, East Avenue Medical Center, Lung Center of the Philippines, Philippine Children's Hospital, and San Lazaro Hospital in NCR; Jose B. Lingad Memorial Hospital in San Fernando, Pampanga; Western Visayas Medical Center in Iloilo City, Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center in Cebu City, Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao City, and Davao Regional Hospital in Tagum City.

According to DSWD, approximately 13,000 indigent patients have already benefited from the program.

"Layon nating mas marami pa sa ating mahihirap na kababayan ang makinabang sa libreng gamot," said the lawmaker, who cited a World Health Organization study which showed that major causes of deaths in low-income countries can be treated effectively with simple essential medicines.

Angara is also the author of Senate Bill 972 mandating all government district hospitals, local health units and barangay health centers in all cities and municipalities to provide free medicine for the poor.

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