MANILA — President Benigno S. Aquino III welcomed last week 55 heads of Far Eastern University Medical Alumni Association from Northern Illinois who made a courtesy call before embarking on their respective medical missions in the countryside.
The President informed his callers that he and his siblings were all born in the FEU Hospital, which included his youngest sister, Kris in 1971. “When I was told that FEU Medical Alumni would want to visit me, I readily said why not,” the President told his visitors.
He thanked the visiting medical practitioners for the help they have extended to their countrymen through the annual medical missions, “with 40 percent of Filipinos never getting the chance to see a health professional and we are trying to rectify that.”
He said the Department of Health (DOH) is adding 10,000 nurses to perform the role of midwives in various rural health units of the country which would cost around P800 million for the year “to get them better access.”
The government is targeting, at the very least, the bottom 20 percent of the population which number 4.6 to 5.3 million families to be fully enrolled in the Philhealth system so they can enjoy medical insurance, he said.
Another program by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) will propagate a very simple clay-based filtration system which has micro pores in it smaller than the sizes of viruses and bacteria to prevent these from getting into the rural potable water systems.
Electricity and gravity would be needed for this filtration system and this will cost P100 per base. Instead of the multiple filtration systems and pumping stations which cost a lot more.
, these simple filtration systems will gain them immediate access to potable water. The DOST will soon distribute these systems.
The President said that the P21-billion conditional cash transfer program is an investment for the future that will cover public school students. He said 14 out of every hundred students go on and finish college while 86 percent do not.
The goals of CCT are: giving stipend to families so they keep their children in school and they undergo various health checks and immunization. Sadly, “we have not been able to immunize them from five preventable diseases.”
The President said he hopes the families will be able to keep the children in school for ten years, which is the term of basic education.
With the problem in education system before such as lack of books and teachers and shortage of classrooms that led to packing four classes in one room giving children only four hours of effective learning experience “we will be changing this gradually by adopting the K+12 program or 12-year basic education, that includes preschool, the Chief Executive said.
He said all of these programs will be accelerated this year with the economy expected to grow robustly in spite of a projected slower world economic growth “as we have been instituting reforms in the bureaucracy” and in more transparent way of doing business.