Noting that indigent children have no adequate means to avail medical services, Davao City Rep. Paolo Duterte and Benguet Rep. Eric Yap filed a proposed measure mandating all hospitals, medical centers, clinics and other health institutions giving frontline medical services to provide free medical treatment to indigent children.
House Bill No. 7866, also known as the Indigent Children Free Medical and Dental Service Act, requires the giving of free medical and dental services to indigent children or those who are below 18 years of age and whose parents or guardians have no means of providing for their immediate health needs.
“Children are the future of our society. It is a declared policy of the state to provide all possible assistance it could provide to children, especially those who are unfortunate to have no means of support or no one to support them,” Duterte pointed out.
Duterte also noted that the 1987 Constitution highlights the need for an integrated and comprehensive approach to health development that will make health services available to the people at an affordable cost.
Meanwhile, Yap explained that despite such Constitutional guarantees, medical and dental check-ups remain unreachable to the vulnerable, especially to the poorest of the poor.
“Regular health check-ups play a vital role to the children’s development because these check-ups help detect and address health concerns and ensure that a child’s growth and development are on track,” Yap stressed.
The Act seeks to mandate hospitals, medical centers, clinics and other health institutions that provide frontline medical services in the country to give free medical and dental treatment to the indigent children, to be headed by the Department of Health (DOH), in coordination with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
Yap added that the DSWD and DOH are the lead government agencies in the implementation of the Act. The DSWD shall determine if the child is indeed an indigent while the DOH shall coordinate with the implementation of the free medical and dental services to indigent children.