The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has released a P54-million budget to supply free medicines to indigent patients from all over the country under its “Libreng Gamot Para Sa Masa” (Lingap Sa Masa) program.
Started in March 2017, Lingap Sa Masa is a project of President Rodrigo Duterte that aims to provide P1-billion worth of medicines to indigent patients.
In partnership with select hospitals like the University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH), the DSWD continues to implement the program as the agency has reached out to 1,051 indigent patients through the UP-PGH Lingap.
Among participating hospitals, Jose B. Lingad Memorial Hospital in San Fernando City, Pampanga, has registered the highest utilization amounting to P24-million worth of medicines accessed by 2,386 patients.
From Region 6, about 2,280 patients have also benefited from the free medicine program, while 1,905 indigents were served in the two participating hospitals in the Davao region.
Patients who avail of free medicines are mainly individuals from poor families or are vulnerable, disadvantaged informal sectors, depending on assessments done by social workers.
The DSWD said those who need to avail of the program must bring a valid ID; doctor’s prescription issued within the last three months, indicating date and name of the patient, signed by attending physician; and proof of indigency or any certificate issued by the barangay (village) or medical social service from a hospital.
DSWD Secretary Judy Taguiwalo hoped that more Filipinos will be able to benefit from the program.
“There remains much to be desired when it comes to our public healthcare system, and among the factors that stand in the way of Filipinos’ access to quality healthcare is the cost of medicine and medical procedures and treatment. Agencies like the DSWD contribute to efforts to make healthcare services more accessible to the poor and sectors in need. Lingap Para sa Masa is an important program we have which we hope will benefit many Filipinos,” she said.
The department said more than P900 million is still left in the budget for free medicine provided by the Office of the President.