Cebu News

Council backs poor kids free health services bill

Mary Ruth R. Malinao - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — The Cebu City Council has expressed its support to Senate Bill No. 1107 or the “Indigent Children Free Medical and Dental Service Act.”

Councilor Rey Gealon sponsored a resolution regarding the matter which was approved by the council.

Senator Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada, under the 19th Congress, filed a measure providing for an act establishing the requirement of giving free medical and dental service to indigent children, and for other purposes.

SB 1107 seeks to require all medical institutions to extend health services to indigent children, which includes but is not necessarily limited to street children.

“Such policy is in consonance with the representation's belief that children are the future of society thus, have the right to have proper medical attention,” said Gealon.

Gealon said among the significant provisions of the proposed measure requires all hospitals, medical centers, clinics, and other health institutions that provide frontline medical services throughout the Philippines to provide free medical and dental treatment to indigent children.

Article 3 of the Child and Youth Welfare Code provides that, “Every child has the right to a balanced diet, adequate clothing, sufficient shelter, proper medical attention, and all basic physical requirements of a healthy and vigorous life.”

Chapter 5, Article 62 of the same code provides that if the child has special health problems, his parents shall be entitled to such assistance from the government as may be necessary for his care and treatment in addition to other benefits provided for under existing law.

“It is a major cause of concern that despite all these safeguards, the rampant practice of certain hospital's refusal to attend to the medical and dental needs of street children despite the urgency of such need due to the parent's or guardian's inability to provide ‘deposits’ is still practiced,” read the explanatory note of SB 1107.

“We should put an end to such practice by providing for a law that would require both private and public hospitals and clinics to render free medical and dental services to indigent children, and penalizing those who will violate such a requirement,” it further read.

Section 3, paragraph 2, Article XV of the 1987 Constitution provides that “The State shall defend the right of the children to assistance including proper care and nutrition and special protection from all forms of neglect and abuse, cruelty, exploitation, other conditions prejudicial to their development.” — GMR (FREEMAN)

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