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Sunday, November 2, 2014

Dept. of Justice Recommends Approval of Mandatory PhilHealth Coverage for All Senior Citizens

The Department of Justice (DOJ) is recommending the approval of a consolidated enrolled Bill of the Senate and the House of Representatives providing for mandatory PhilHealth coverage for all senior citizens nationwide. In her two-page legal opinion dated Oct. 21, 2014, Justice Secretary Leila M. De Lima said it is imperative upon the government to “give full support to the improvement of the total well-being of the elderly and their full participation in society, considering that senior citizens are an integral part of Philippine society.”
De Lima issued her legal opinion upon the request of Deputy Executive Secretary for Legal Affairs Michael G. Aguinaldo, which received the same on Oct. 28, 2014.

The consolidated enrolled Bill is Senate Bill No. 712 and House Bill No. 4593 entitled “An Act providing for the mandatory PhilHealth coverage for all senior citizens, amending for the purpose Republic Act No. 7432, as amended by Republic Act No. 9994, otherwise known as the ‘Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010’”.
The DOJ recommended the approval of the enrolled bill based on the following constitutional and legal justifications: Article II, Section 9 provides that: “The State shall promote a just and dynamic social order that will ensure the prosperity and independence of the nation and free the people from poverty through policies that provide adequate social services, promote full employment, a rising standard of living, and an improved quality of life for all.” Article XIII, Section 11 provides that: “The State shall adopt an integrated and comprehensive approach to health development which shall endeavor to make essential goods, health and other social services available to all people at affordable cost. There shall be priority for the needs of the underprivileged, sick, elderly, disabled, women and children.” Article XV, Section 4 provides that: “The family has the duty to care for its elderly members but the State may also do so through just programs of social security.”
De Lima said the funds for the implementation of the bill if the same is enacted into law shall be sourced from R.A. No. 10351, or “An Act restructuring the excise tax on alcohol and tobacco”.
She added it is one of the intentions of R.A. No. 10351 “to generate government’s revenues to fund the Universal Health Care.”
The DOJ Chief noted the “Vienna International Plan of Ageing is the first international instrument on ageing. It aims to strengthen the capabilities of government and civil society to deal effectively with the ageing populations and to address the developmental potential and dependency needs of older persons. It marked for the first time an international consensus agreement on ageing that was reached by all governments.”
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