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Duterte band shows fitness

Francis Wakefield



It’s not much of a health concern but more of a senior citizen’s fashion statement—that white band on President Rodrigo Duterte’s right arm, which had sparked yet another alarm on his fitness.

But Malacañang allayed fears that the Chief Executive could be ailing when he attended a recent affair at the Sangley Airport Development Project (SADP) in Cavite City, with Chief presidential Legal Counsel and spokesman Salvador Panelo disclaiming it as a bandage or a medical plaster.

Panelo even stretched that the white wristband worn by the President was a symbol of peace for the country.

“No, it’s not a medical plaster,” he said.

“It’s just like what Erap (former President Joseph Estrada) wore, a wristband. I have mine, and mine’s red,” Panelo said.

The Palace mouthpiece said he will tell it straight to the people if the President in unwell.

“He (Mr. Duterte) is not hiding anything, right? He tells everything to his people,” he said.

“It’s just a white symbol of peace. He wants peace to reign in the country. He wants peace with the rebels — the Muslims, the communists. He does not want to shed blood,” Panelo added.

Mr. Duterte, meanwhile, made sure Filipinos — especially the poor — will have access to affordable and quality drugs.


Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar on Wednesday lauded President Rodrigo Duterte’s signing of Executive Order (EO) 104 — a landmark measure entitled “Improving Access to Healthcare Through the Regulation of Prices in the Retail of Drugs and Medicines” that will impose price regulation through a Maximum Retail Price, Maximum Wholesale Price or both on certain drugs and medicines.

“We laud President Duterte for signing the Executive Order 104 which will regulate and set the maximum retail prices and/or maximum wholesale prices on certain priority drugs and medicines for Filipinos, particularly those for diseases that are the leading causes of morbidity and mortality,” Andanar said.

“As prices of medicines and drugs in the Philippines have been one of the steepest in the region, the EO will enable the Philippine Medicine and Drug Market’s prices to be at par with the prices in our neighboring countries,” he added.

Andanar said drugs and medications, make up a large part of Filipinos health expenses, and through the EO, Filipinos will have access to quality and affordable drugs and medicines.

“This is one of the testaments of this administration’s commitment towards improving every Filipino’s access to healthcare goods and services, alongside other social services,” he said.

“We will continue to undertake measures and programs that will further expand everyone’s access to healthcare and further promote the health development of Filipinos, in order to realize President Duterte’s goal of providing a dignified and comfortable life for all,” he added.

Under the EO, Price regulation through a Maximum Retail Price (MRP) and/or Maximum Wholesale Price (MWP) is imposed on certain drugs and medicines, selected based on:

— Drugs that address the health priorities of the general public especially those that account for the leading causes of morbidity and mortality;

— Drugs that have high price differentials/arbitrage compared to international prices;

—Drugs that have limited competition in terms of lack of generic counterparts or lack of market access to these products; and

— Drugs where the innovator product is the most expensive yet most prescribed and/or dispensed in the market.

The Department of Trade and Industry, meanwhile, said the government is set to pool the procurement of some medicines to comply with the President’s directive.



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