Bill seeks to provide free medicines in all barangays

By Marjorie Gorospe

QUEZON CITY, METRO MANILA—A bill filed in the House of Representatives is seeking to provide free basic medicines to all the barangays.

House Bill 4901,  or the Free Basic Medicines Act filed by Camarines Sur Representative Salvio Fortuno, seeks to make basic medicines accessible to poor families in all 42,025 barangays nationwide.

The measure specifically defines indigent residents as “those families whose family income is below P50,000 per year and who have no visible means of income”.

Fortuno said the bill is in line with the mandate of the Constitution that the the State shall protect and promote the right to health of all Filipinos.

The medicines would be distributed by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

However, beneficiaries of the DSWD's Conditional Cash Transfer Program will not be covered by the free medicines.

Fortuno said  the amount necessary to implement this law shall be included in the yearly budget of the DSWD.

According to the bill, DSWD shall promulgate the necessary rules and regulations in coordination with the “Liga ng mga Barangay” to provide a system of distribution to ensure that all beneficiaries receive free basic medicines.

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