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Health system’s ‘weakest link’ in government—Sotto

Supporters greet Senate President Vicente Sotto III at the Popular Gymnasium in the city of Tuguegarao on Tuesday. March 15. (Photo by Villamor Visaya Jr.)

CITY OF TUGUEGARAO—The President of the Senate and Vice President Vicente Sotto III on Tuesday lamented the lack of sustainable maternal and child health services in the country.

Sotto and his running mate, Senator Panfilo Lacson, organized a sectoral forum at the People’s Gymnasium in that city, attended by 1,000 women and sectoral representatives.

“The health system is the weakest link in our government,” Sotto told the Inquirer when asked about his plan to improve maternal health services in the country if elected with Lacson. .

He said the health department had failed to fulfill its mandate to provide reliable health services despite being given funds during the pandemic.

“We enacted the Maternal Health Care Act…I don’t know why they haven’t fully implemented the services yet (under the law),” he said.

Earlier, the Ministry of Health reported that pregnant women face many challenges due to the pandemic, with quarantine restrictions affecting the provision and use of maternal care services in 2020 and 2021.

“Team batas ginagawa namin pero kapag ginagawan ng executive ng IRR (Implementing Rules and Regulations), nagbabago and tila yun ang batas, mali,” Sotto told the crowd.

(The laws we enact are good, but when the executive makes the rules and regulations for it, they change. Wrong.)

Lacson said the executive department of government should expand the reach of maternal and child health services.

“With 700 billion pesos lost in corruption, we could have spent that on health care and social services,” he added.

The Philippine Statistics Authority reported that 1,975 women died of maternal causes in 2020, compared to 1,458 in 2019.

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