DOH in the Philippines Refutes Allegations of Misusing Medical Assistance Program for Charter Change Campaign

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The Department of Health (DOH) in the Philippines is in the limelight, emphatically refuting allegations that its Medical Assistance for Indigent Patients (MAIP) program is being manipulated to reward individuals for endorsing a petition for charter change, colloquially known as ‘cha-cha.’

Health Secretary Clarifies Misconceptions

In a recent press briefing, Health Secretary Teodoro Herbosa elucidated that the MAIP funds, rather than being disbursed directly to patients in the form of cash, are channelled to regional hospitals. The purpose of such funds is to cover the medical expenses of individuals who are financially disadvantaged, i.e., the indigent patients. The Secretary also shed light on some figures – in 2022, MAIP was instrumental in aiding approximately 3.5 million Filipinos, with a total fund allocation of P22 billion. Moreover, in the current year, the funding for MAIP has seen a substantial increase, reaching P58 billion.

The Purpose of MAIP Funds

Herbosa took a firm stand, emphasizing that the raison d’être of these funds is strictly to provide medical assistance. They are not to be misused for political activities, such as campaigns endorsing charter change. He also vowed that if the funds were indeed misused in such a manner, he would be among the pioneers to voice his protest.

Call for Transparency and Accountability

Undersecretary Eric Tayag has made a public call, urging anyone with information about the misuse of MAIP funds to step forward. He assured the public that such actions, if brought to light, would not be tolerated. The allegations of misuse have emerged in the midst of ongoing discussions about charter change. This issue has been a frequent topic in every administration, with the 1987 Constitution stipulating that amendments can be proposed through a people’s initiative, requiring a petition with significant voter support.