Thursday, January 17, 2019

PhilHealth enhances benefit for infants, aims for healthier babies

The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) recently expanded its coverage of essential health services for newborns to enable early detection and management of more congenital disorders which may lead to mental retardation and even death if left untreated.

In its PhilHealth Circular No. 2018-0021 which took effect on January 5, 2019, the state health insurer introduced the enhanced Newborn Care Package, increasing the amount of coverage from P1,750 to P2,950 which pays for supplies for essential newborn care such as Vitamin K, eye ointment, vaccines for hepatitis B and BCG; expanded Newborn Screening test; Newborn Hearing Screening Test; and fees for attending professionals.

The essential newborn care also includes immediate drying of the baby, early skin to skin contact, timely cord clamping, non-separation of mother/baby for early breastfeeding initiation, weighing of the baby, among others.

Meanwhile, the expanded newborn screening test will be able to detect endocrine, amino and fatty acid disorders; organic acid, urea cycle defect, cystic fibrosis, hemoglobinopathies, biotinidase deficiency, and other disorders.

Newborn screening aims to detect at the earliest stage certain genetic and metabolic conditions that may lead to mental retardation or morbidity if left untreated. The screening was integrated into the public health delivery system with the enactment of Republic Act 9288 or the Newborn Screening Act of 2004.

The enhancement in the package is in support of the National Comprehensive Newborn Screening System which expanded the screening from six to over 28 disorders pursuant to Department of Health Administrative Order No. 2014-0045 which issued guidelines on the implementation of the expanded Newborn Screening Program.

The PhilHealth Circular provides that the enhanced package shall be dispensed to qualified newborns delivered in all accredited health care institutions that perform deliveries and provide newborn care which include hospitals, infirmaries/dispensaries, and birthing homes/lying-in clinics.

To ensure entitlement to the said benefit, newborns need to be in the facility for at least 24 hours after birth except those who warrant immediate referral to a higher level facility.

The state health insurer encouraged all active and expecting PhilHealth members to avail of the said package in order to provide newborns with the needed services that will help reduce morbidity and mortality and eliminate the costs associated with treatment and care of lifelong debilitating conditions. (Emelita M. Retuta)

Batocabe widow replaces slain husband in mayoral race

Gertie Batocabe
DARAGA, Albay -- Gertie Batocabe, the wife of the late Ako Bicol Party List Rep. Rodel Batocabe, has been named the official replacement of her slain husband in the upcoming mayoral race here, Dennis Batocabe, the solon’s older brother, said.

Batocabe, in an interview on Thursday, said their family decided to field Gertie as the official candidate to take the place of her husband, who was gunned down during a gift-giving event in Barangay Burgos in a remote village here last December 22.

“We will officially declare her (Gertie) as the replacement soon after she arrives home in time for the 40th day after the death of her husband,” he said.

Batocabe, when asked how the replacement process would affect the upcoming local election, said, “A vote for Rodel or Batocabe will be a vote for Gertie. Anybody who votes in the name of Rodel would be counted”.

He said they would coordinate with the Commission on Elections (Comelec) for further guidance on what election-related policies and measures should be followed.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has placed this town under its control, considering its unstable peace and order situation due to intense political rivalries that could affect the conduct of the May 13 national and local elections.

The move is to ensure public safety during the balloting, the poll body said.

Romeo Serrano, Comelec Assistant Director and Albay Provincial Election Supervisor, on Wednesday said the Comelec en banc issued Resolution 10479 on January 15 after taking into account the recommendation of Comelec-Bicol to place the town under its control. (PNA)

Suspect selling shabu collared in Daet

DAET, Camarines Norte (Bicol Standard) -- After several months of intelligence gathering, the Philippine National Police (PNP) has finally arrested Aljon Papares y Lladoc, one of the active suppliers of illegal drugs here, according to a police report.

Papares was arrested by the police inside the Public Market here yesterday.

The entrapment operation which led to his arrest was implemented at around 10:30 in the evening, at his residence at Purok 3, Barangay 6, this town.

In said buy-bust operation, the police operatives were able to recover from the suspect several transparent plastic sachet believed to methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu from his pocket.

Also recovered from Papares was the P500 that was used as buy-bust money.

Upon arrest, Papares was brought to the police headquarters here, where he was appraised of his rights.

He will face a criminal charge for violation of Sec 5 and Section 11 of Republic Act 9165, or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

No MOA, no work, says DPWH to 4Ps beneficiaries

DAET, Camarines Norte (Bicol Standard) -- Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) District Engineer Ricardo Gutierrez of Camarines Norte said that his office will not accept laborers who are beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), unless they can present a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) issued by the Departmet of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

Gutierrez said that until now he is not aware of any agreement between DPWH and DSWD regarding this matter, since the MOA expired in 2016.

He also clarified that the DPWH Legal Department is of the opinon that they will not accept any laborer who are members of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), due to the fact that the issue regarding double compensation has not yet been clearly settled.

Gutierrez also made it clear that the the 4Ps beneficiary may also recommend any member of their family for the purpose employment as laborer.

Meanwhile, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) opined that the alleged legal obstacle pointed out by DPWH is not violated due to the fact that 4Ps beneficiaries are receiving grants.

Furthermore, 4Ps beneficiaries are not receiving salaries but only assistance under the Conditional Cash Transfer program, the DSWD said.

It will be recalled that under the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) which was signed in 2014, the DPWH are required to allocate at least 20 percent of their laborers from the recommended persons of the DSWD.

Libmanan controversy continues to affect residents, employees, officials

LIBMANAN, Camarines Sur (Bicol Standard) – The residents, employees, and officials of Libmanan are suffering the brunt of the controversy that ensued when a suspension order was issued to Mayor Bernard Brioso based on the administrative complaint filed against him with the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Camarines Sur last year.

Councilor Jesus Camara, in an interview, told the Bicol Standard that since November 8, which was the effectivity of the suspension order against Brioso, there had been no transactions in the local government unit.

This includes the non-release of salaries and wages, the Christmas bonus, and other benefits, he said.

Even the payments charged against Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses (MOOE) including electric bills and salaries and wages of employees like street cleaners, among others, remain unsettled.

Camara said that the depository banks of the Local Government Unit, Land Bank of the Philippines and Development Bank of the Philippines, would not allow the encashment of checks issued by the LGU.

This is until after a clarification is made by Nonilon Lopez, the Municipal Government Operations Officer of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), as to who is the authorized signatory to the said checks.

Municipal officials have already raised a query to said DILG officer as to the signatory. However, Lopez has not yet acted upon the request, according to Camara.

Meanwhile, the Provincial Office of the DILG, when asked for an opinion, stated that they have no jurisdiction over the issue.

It will be recalled that Brioso was preventively suspended from November 8, 2018 to January 8, 2019 for issuing a Mayor’s Pemit to Tinandayagan Falls and Resort, which is owned by his sister Socorro, who allegedly failed to comply with the documentary requirements.

During such time, Vice Mayor Rommel Bulaong assumed office as Acting Mayor.

Brioso refused to comply with the suspension order, and still continued to perform the functions of the Office of the Mayor, Camara said.

He even issued a memorandum to all department heads, saying that he has a pending appeal with the Office of the President, hence he will not relinquish his position.

On January 8, 2019, Brioso was served another order of suspension, which is punitive in nature, for six months, with which he again refused to comply.

Brioso maintained that he has a pending appeal with the Office of the President regarding the same.

Meantime, the depository banks still refuse to allow the LGU to engage in transactions like the issuance of checks since they require a clarification from Municipal Government Operations Officer Lopez as to the authorized signatory.

As this developed, Presidential Assistant for Bicol Affairs Usec. Marvel Clavecilla called for a dialogue this afternoon in Naga City to iron out the issue.

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PhilHealth enhances benefit for infants, aims for healthier babies

The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) recently expanded its coverage of essential health services for newborns to en...