It looks like Christmas will indeed be merry for many Filipinos this year.
According to a report posted by ABS-CBN on their news website, President Rodrigo Duterte has decided to allocate P2 billion to provide free medicine for the poor and the needy this Christmas season.
This was officially announced by the President himself during the traditional lighting of the Malacañang Christmas Tree. He said that the funds will be taken from the P5 billion check that he recently received from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR).
In fact, President Duterte has already instructed Paulyn Jean Rosell-Ubial, secretary of the Department of Health (DOH) about the matter. He said he wants to make sure that poor Filipinos will be able to benefit from the allocated amount.
In his own words, Duterte said:
“I want every Filipino holding a reseta of a doctor that could not find the money to buy the medicines. Sabi ko, ‘ibigay ninyo ‘yang P2 billion na ‘yan this Christmas.”
He further added:
“So kayong Pilipinas, nakikinig sa akin ngayon, may mga reseta kayo, go to the DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development) or hanapin mo ang inyong city health or the hospital itself and we will buy the medicines for you.”
This news, of course, has been received positively by many. Poor families and individuals are particularly delighted that the President has promised that they will be able to purchase their prescriptions soon – a gift that they really need this Christmas.
In addition to the free medicine, Duterte has likewise confirmed that he will push with his promise to grant executive clemency for elderly prisoners during the holiday season. He, on the other hand, strongly emphasized that he will not agree yet about the releasing of 130 political prisoners who are affiliated with the leftist movement.