Landmark UHC bill ratified

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Malacanang yesterday lauded the ratification of the bicameral conference committee report HIV/AIDS Policy Act of 2018, saying it is a “significant milestone” for the country.

In a statement Thursday, presidential spokesman Harry Roque stressed that it was a landmark event when the Senate and House of Representatives ratified the bill on Wednesday, adding that this will pave the way for the strengthening of the universal healthcare program of the government.

“This measure would strengthen the Universal Health Care (UHC) given that the UHC covers preventive health services,” Roque said. “There’s no Filipino with HIV/AIDS who can say that the government is not extending its health services to them.”

The Senate passed on third and final reading the UHC bill that would make primary health care services available to all Filipinos.

Roque, a principal author of House version of the bill, which amends the Philippine AIDS Prevention Act of 1998, said, “The alarming rise in HIV/AIDS cases underscores the need for a comprehensive and updated legal framework addressing HIV and AIDS.”

“We can look forward to a society that is empowered to prevent, not only the spread of the disease but also the stigma that comes with it,” he added.

Meanwhile, the presidential spokesman clarified that he had quit his post after speculations arose that he resigned two days after President Rodrigo Duterte revealed that he threatened to resign from his post when he was left in the dark about the Chief Executive’s hospital visit on 3 October.

“I have not resigned,” said Roque in a statement, adding that he will still talk to the President before 15 October.

Roque is believed to be eyeing a Senate seat in the 2019 mid-term elections but Duterte earlier had offered him to be his press secretary as the President wanted to revive the Office of the Press Secretary.

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