• Roque sees passage of health care, whistleblower bills

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    Kabayan Party-list Rep. Harry Roque expressed hope that two of his priority bills mentioned during the State of the Nation Address of President Rodrigo Duterte will be passed into law.

    These are the measures that seek universal health care and protection for state witnesses.
    “Two of my bills, the Whistleblowers’ Protection Bill and Universal Health Care Bill, were mentioned as part of the administration’s legislative agenda and I am happy that they could actually become law,” Roque said in a statement. The bills were filed on June 30.

    The other measures that Roque filed are House Bill 222 which seeks to protect the rights of internally displaced persons, House Bill 224 or the Freedom of. Information (FOI) Bill, and House Bill 226 which seeks to amend Republic Act 10368 or the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013.

    “Universal health care is a pet bill of mine because the government is obligated by the Constitution to provide adequate health care to all Filipinos, with priority to our less fortunate kababayans, senior citizens, persons with special needs, women, and children,” Roque said.

    According to the lawmaker, the bill is patterned after Thailand’s National Health Security Act of 2002.

    “By imitating their model and creating a National Health Security Office (NHSO) specifically tasked to enforce universal health care, we move much closer to properly devoting government taxes to save and improve lives of the Filipino people,” he said.

    Under the measure, Filipino citizens are entitled to become beneficiaries provided that they enroll with the NHSO and select their preferred health care unit.

    “I am also now the author of the Whistleblower’s Protection Bill, which Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago passed on to me. She was the original author of the Senate version, but it never saw the light of day,” Roque added, referring to House Bill 223.

    The measure, if passed, will protect those who divulge alleged wrongdoing in government.
    It also aims to prohibit the retaliation of a superior against a witness.

    Roque said that being part of the President’s legislative agenda, it is likely that the two bills will be passed without any difficulty.

    One of the first measures filed by Roque is the establishment of a program to protect journalists from harassment.

    Aside from his wife Mylah who is a member of the press, the lawmaker believes in freedom of expression and that it is his duty to protect this right as a lawyer.

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