SAN NICOLAS, Pangasinan: Sen. Grace Poe reached out to senior citizens when she returned to her home province of Pangasinan, where she vowed to improve healthcare for the elderly.
In a campaign sortie in San Nicolas town on Wednesday, Poe said the government should make sure that local communities have full access to essential medicines.
Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) figures in 2012 showed that medicines account for more than half of out-of-pocket expenditures of Filipino patients.
A December 2015 survey of Pulse Asia also found that health was the top concern of Filipinos.
“Ang gusto natin ay ito: Ang mga maintenance medicines ninyo, dapat mas mabilis, mas madali ninyong makukuha, para sa diabetes, high blood o kung ano pa man. At kung hindi ninyo mababayaran, dapat mabibigay pa rin sa inyo ng gobyerno [What we want is this: You should be able to get your maintenance medicines faster and easier, whether for diabetes, high blood pressure or anything else. The government should still provide you these medicines even if you can’t pay for them],” Poe said.
Public facilities, she added, must be well-equipped to effectively serve the marginalized sectors of society such as the elderly.
The PSA found that 66 percent of Filipinos seek medical care from public hospitals, rural health units and barangay (village) health centers.
This is particularly true among the poorest Filipinos who use public health facilities 90 percent of the time.
“Ang ating mga barangay health centers ay dapat kumpleto ang pagbigay ng lunas sa inyong mga pangangailangan araw-araw. Ubo man o kaya sakit ng katawan o may lagnat. Hindi lamang sa ospital lang pumupunta [Barangay health centers should be able to provide for your medical needs daily, whether you have cough or fever of malaise. So that you will not have to always go to a hospital],” Poe said.
The lone independent presidential aspirant also wants a government program that will provide employment for senior citizens who are still physically able and mentally sharp to work again.
Senior citizens constitute seven percent or around six million of the Philippine household population in 2010.