Tag Archive: DOH

09 - 29 (2)

There are over a thousand slang terms used to avoid saying the “M” word, especially when talking about it in public places.  Weed, pot, dope, Mary Jane, and jutes are just among the more popular terms used by young and old alike (depends on your generation).  Truth be told, it is never easy nor simple to be talking about something prohibited and, up to a certain extent, scandalous as marijuana and its use.  It is simply, especially in a predominantly Christian country such as ours, taboo.

Marijuana is the second most used drug in the Philippines, after shabu.  It is listed as prohibited by the Dangerous Drugs Board and has a detailed list of punishment for anyone caught importing, selling, manufacturing, cultivating, or merely having it in one’s possession.  Ironically, the plant is grown in various areas in the country, with locals claiming that it is basically part of their culture to cultivate and consume the plant to keep them from getting sick.

Interestingly, the House Committee has already approved the use of marijuana in our country for medicinal purposes.  Because while marijuana, or cannabis, is extremely addictive, it also has the ability to cure certain types of diseases.

The Philippine Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act

This rather controversial act will allow qualified patients to use cannabis (or marijuana) as a medicine.  To make it easier for us to understand this interesting piece of news, we summarized the details and listed them below, as lifted from the reports of CNN and statements from the House Committee that authored the bill:

  • The bill disallows marijuana to be administered in its raw form, as a plant, or as a hash which would be smoked.
  • It seeks to legalize and regulate the medical use of cannabis, or marijuana, which is known to have therapeutic purposes in the treatment of chronic or debilitating medical conditions such as arthritis, epilepsy, and multiple sclerosis.
  • Centers dedicated to cannabis’ medical use and sale will be established in hospitals. These will be licensed by the Department of Health and the Food and Drug Administration.
  • The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency will regulate the dispensation of medical marijuana in these hospitals.
  • Patients certified by physicians to qualify for the marijuana-based treatment will be issued identification cards, and doctors will be trained to specialize in the medical use of the drug.
  • The bill also plans to create a research facility dedicated to studying the controversial drug’s medical benefits.

The bill does not make the use of marijuana legal in the Philippines.  Anybody caught possessing or using marijuana, even for medical purposes, may be sentenced to years in jail.  The plant is still considered a dangerous drug and all the laws pertaining to its use is not decriminalized.

We are interested to know what you think of this news.  Comment your insights, reactions, and maybe even suggestions below.

Reference: cnnphilippines.com

Chips And Nibblers (1)

Closet Queen


03 - 13

A Senior Citizen ID card holder may enjoy two free movies at cinemas in Quezon City on specific days.  When dining or buying medicines, they are granted a 20% discount off of the cost of their meals and medications.  They are also given priority seats in public transportation and are granted the best slots in parking areas.

All’s well until they find themselves lined up at grocery counters.  Most first time SC card holders are surprised to find out that the 20% discount and VAT exemption applied on certain goods and services for use and enjoyment of Senior Citizens are not applicable on grocery items.

What are the discountable goods and services mentioned in the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2000?

Our research on this topic led us back to the RA 9994 or the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2000 where it is clearly emphasized that the 20% discount and VAT exemption are applicable to the charges on the following goods and services ONLY:

  1. Medicines, including the purchase of influenza and pneumococcal vaccines and such other essential medical supplies, accessories, and equipment to be determined by the Department of Health (DOH);
  2. Professional fees of attending physicians in all private hospitals, medical facilities, outpatient clinics, and home health  care services;
  3. Professional fees of licensed professional health providing home health care services as endorsed by private hospitals or employed through home health care employment agencies;
  4. Medical and dental services, diagnostic and laboratory fees in all private hospitals, medical facilities, outpatient clinics, and home health care services, in accordance with the rules and regulations to be issued by the DOH, in coordination with Philhealth;
  5. Actual fare for land transportation travel in public utility buses, public utility jeepneys, taxis, AUVs, trains;
  6. Actual transportation fare for domestic air transport services and sea shipping vessels and the like, based on the actual fare and advanced booking;
  7. Utilization of services in hotels and similar lodging establishments, restaurants, and recreation centers;
  8. Admission fees charged by theaters, cinema houses, and concert halls, circuses, leisure and amusement, and
  9. Funeral and burial services for the death of the senior citizen.

The 5% Discount on Basic Commodities

While the 20% Senior Citizen discount is not applicable on grocery items, Senior Citizens may demand for the 5% discount for certain grocery purchases that fall under the “basic necessities and prime commodities” category.

According to DTI-DA Administrative Order No. 10-02, Senior Citizens are entitled to a special discount of 5% of the regular retail price, without exemption from value-added tax, of basic necessities, such as:

  1. Rice
  2. Corn
  3. Bread (any shape and name, excluding pastries and cakes)
  4. Fresh, dried, and canned fish and other marine products
  5. Fresh pork, beef, and poultry meat
  6. Fresh eggs
  7. Fresh and processed milk
  8. Fresh vegetables including root crops
  9. Coffee and creamer
  10. Sugar
  11. Cooking oil
  12. Salt
  13. Powdered, liquid, bar laundry and detergent soap
  14. Firewood
  15. Charcoal
  16. Candles
  17. Fresh fruits
  18. Flour
  19. Dried, processed, and canned pork, beef and poultry meat
  20. Dairy products
  21. Noodles
  22. Onions
  23. Garlic
  24. Geriatric diapers
  25. Herbicides
  26. Poultry, swine, and cattle feeds
  27. Veterinary products of poultry, swine, and cattle
  28. Nipa shingle, plyboard, and construction nails
  29. Batteries
  30. Electrical supplies and light bulbs
  31. Steel wire

Can Senior Citizens avail of the 5% special discount on these items anytime?

This is where it gets a bit tricky.

When availing of the 5% special discount, the total amount of the purchase must not exceed Php 1,300 per calendar week.  The unused amount for the current week shall not be carried over to the following week.  Be reminded as well that the items must be commensurate to the personal and exclusive consumption of the senior citizen within the calendar week and that the amount allocated shall be spent on at least four (4) kinds of items only.

This is also the reason why most cities and municipalities require Senior Citizens to present, not just their IDs, but their Senior Citizen booklets as well.  This is their way of monitoring the purchases made by the Senior Citizen and if he may still avail of the 5% special discount for a particular week.




Chips And Nibblers (1)

Closet Queen



A common requirement when travelling abroad are DFA-authenticated IDs and documents.  Whether you are traveling as a tourist, an overseas worker, or an exchange student, you will be required to have certain supporting documents “red-ribboned” by the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Here is a summary of the processes and requirements involved when having your documents authenticated.  Certain agencies handle the submission of the documents for authentication to the DFA.  For easier reference, we separated the documents that need to be hand-carried by the applicant to the DFA and those that will be handled by the agency.

General Procedure:

Step 1: Fill out an application form.

Step 2: Present a valid ID upon submission of the documents to the Processing Window.

Step 3: Pay appropriate Authentication Fees:

a. Php 100 / document (4 days processing)

b. Php 200 / document (1 day processing)

Step 4: Return the Duplicate copy of the receipt to the Processing Window.

Step 5: Claim the Authenticated document on the release date; simply present the machine-validated receipt at the releasing window.

Requirements for Authentication of Documents: APPLICANTS TO HAND-CARRY THESE DOCUMENTS TO THE DFA

  1. Birth / Marriage / Death Certificate and Certificate of No Marriage (CENOMAR).
    • Certificates must be in Security Paper issued by the PSA or must have been certified / authenticated by the PSA.
    • Local Civl Regsitrar (LCR) copy of Marriage Certificate, Birth Certificate, or Death Certificate may be required in cases when entries on the PSA copy are unreadable.
  2. Transcript of Records (TOR) and Diploma (For State Colleges and Universities)
    • Certified True Copies from the school
    • Secure Certificate of Authentication and Verification (CAV) from the school signed by the School/University Registrar.
  3. Form 137 and Diploma (High School and Elementary Level)
    • Certified True Copies from the school
    • School Principal’s Certification
    • Division Superintendent’s endorsement to Dep-Ed Regional Office
    • Certification (CAV) from Dep-Ed Regional Office
  4. Certificate of Employment / Trainings / Seminars, Baptismal Certificate and other documents issued by a private entity.
    • Applicant must first secure an affidavit, stating necessary factual circumstances and indicating certificates as annex or attachment.
    • Affidavit must be notarized.
    • Applicant must secure Certificate of Authority for a Notarial Act (CANA) signed by the Executive Judge or Vice Executive Judge from the Regional Trial Court which issued the commission of the Notary Public. (Copy of Notarial Commission is not the same as Certificate of Authority for a Notarial Act).
  5. Other Notarized Documents (Special Powers of Attorney (SPA) / Affidavit of Consent / Invitation / Guarantee / MOA, etc.)
    • After document is notarized, applicant must secure Certificate of Authority for a Notarial Act (CANA) signed by the Executive Judge or Vice Executive Judge from the Regional Trial Court which issued the commission of the Notary Public.
  6. Court Decisions / Resolutions / Orders
    • Applicant must present certified true copies of the decision, resolution, or order.
    • Applicant must secure copy of specimen signature of the court personnel who signed the certified copies from the Office of Administrative Services (Supreme Court – located beside PGH).
    • Applicant may be required to submit annotated marriage certificate in cases regarding decision of finality of annulment.
  7. Immigration Records
    • Certified / Authenticated by the Bureau of Immigration (BI).
  8. DSWD Clearances
    • Travel Clearances for minors directly issued by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
  9. NBI Clearances
    • NBI Clearances for travel abroad must be issued by the National Bureau of Investigation (Green).
  10. Police Clearances
    • Police Clearance signed by the Chief of Police issued by the Philippine National Police in various police stations nationwide, usually by the police precinct which has jurisdiction over the applicant’s place of residence or applicant may opt to secure police certification from Camp Crame.
  11. Barangay Clearances
    • Clearances issued by the barangay which has jurisdiction over the applicant’s place of residence and must have been authenticated by the office of the Mayor which has jurisdiction over the barangay.
  12. Export Documents
    • Must be authenticated by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce (PCCI), the Department of Health (DOH), Department of Agriculture (DA), or by the Bureau of Food and Drugs (BFAD), depending on the nature of the document
  13. Business Registration and Other Documents issued by a Government Agency (e.g. SEC, DTI, BIR, Municipal Business Permit and Licensing Office, etc.)
    • Secure certified true copy from the issuing office.
  14. Foreign Documents
    • A Philippine Embassy or Philippine Consulate General in the country from where the document originated or by the said country’s Embassy or Consulate General based in the Philippines must have authenticated these documents.


The applicant will be issued a claim stub which he needs to bring to the DFA when claiming his authenticated document.

  1. Transcript of Records (TOR) and Diploma (Collegiate Level)
    • Certified True Copies from the school.
    • Secure Certificate of Authentication and Verification (CAV) from the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).
  2. Transcript of Records (TOR) and Diploma (Technical or Vocational Courses)
    • Certified True Copies from the school
    • Secure Certificate of Authentication and Verification (CAV) from Technical Education and Skills Development Authority or TESDA.
  3. Medical / AIDS Free Certificate
    • Authenticated by the Department of Health (DOH) and applicable only for use to the following countries:
      • Spain
      • Palau
      • Libya
      • Oman
      • Cuba
      • Portugal
      • Greece
      • Cyprus
      • Angola
  4. Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) issued licenses.
    • Authenticated by CAAP
  5. Driver’s Licenses
    • Applicant must first secure certification from Land Transportation Office (LTO Main Branch only).
  6. Professional Licenses / Board Certificates / Board Ratings / Certifications
    • Certified True Copies must be authenticated by  Professional Regulations Commission (PRC).

All unclaimed authenticated documents will be disposed of by the DFA after three months so make sure to claim your documents on the date reflected on your claim stub.

Source: http://dfa.gov.ph/procedures

Chips And Nibblers (1)

Closet Queen




While I was waiting for my turn at the billing section of a hospital in Fairview, Quezon City, I overheard a young couple discussing the contents of what looked like a typewritten note.

“Puwede na siguro ito… sinabi ko naman na babayaran natin pag natanggap na natin ang 13th month pay sa December,” said the guy while going over the white piece of paper.

“Kinakabahan ako baka manghingi pa ng kung ano-anong papeles. Certificate of Employment lang ang dala ko,” the young lady shuffled several sheets of bond paper before sliding all these inside a long brown envelope.

I gave them a friendly nod and a few minutes later, we were already chatting like old friends.  It turns out that the guy’s mother was hospitalized due to asthma and hypertension.  She was confined for eight days.  According to them, the hospital would not discharge the patient unless they complete the payment for their bills, doctor’s fees, and medicines.  They have accumulated a total of Php 87,000.00 over the course of eight days.  The day I met them at the billing section was actually their 10th day at the hospital as they could not leave until they’ve made payment arrangements.

They were only able to raise Php 37,000.  To remedy the situation, they were asked by the hospital to present a promissory note.  That was the document they were discussing earlier.  In it, they detailed the schedule of payments they will be making for the next two months until they are able to complete the full amount.

This got me thinking about the law that prohibits hospitals from refusing to discharge a patient who has fully recovered from his illness, on the basis that he could not settle his hospital bills in full.  I did my research as soon as I got home and found out that there are actually two kinds of laws that protect the rights and welfare of patients.

  • Republic Act No. 8344
    • The Anti-Hospital Deposit Law
    • It states that it is unlawful for any hospital or medical clinic to refuse administering to patients treatment and support that could prevent their death or permanent disability.


  • Republic Act No. 9439
    • An Act Prohibiting the Detention of Patients in Hospitals and Medical Clinics on Grounds of Non-payment of Hospital Bills or Medical Expenses.”

Based on the couple’s story, R.A. 9439 is a more appropriate reference to their situation.

Was it legal for the hospital to detain the patient even after the doctor has already advised that she has fully recovered from her illness?

Here are the answers based on the details of the said Republic Act and on an article written by a Public Attorney from the Manila Times:

Are patients allowed to execute a promissory note in case they could not make a full or partial payment of their hospital bill?

Yes.  Based on Section 2 of the said R.A.:

Patients who have fully or partially recovered and who already wish to leave the hospital or medical clinic but are financially incapable to settle, in part or in full, their hospitalization expenses, including professional fees and medicines, shall be allowed to leave the hospital or medical clinic upon the execution of a promissory note covering the unpaid obligation.

Can the patient request for a copy of a medical certificate from the doctor or the hospital even if he is unable to settle the full amount of the hospital bill?


The patient has the right to demand the issuance of the corresponding medical certificate and other pertinent papers required for the release of the patient from the hospital or medical clinic.

How does the promissory note work?

The promissory note shall be secured by either a mortgage or by a guarantee of a co-maker, who will be jointly and severally liable with the patient for the unpaid obligation.

How about if the patient died and the family could not make a full payment of the hospital bill right away?  Will the death certificate be released to the family even if they have outstanding obligations at the hospital?

In the case of a deceased patient, the corresponding death certificate and other documents required for interment and other purposes shall be released to any of his surviving relatives requesting for the same.

Does the law cover all types of patients, whether confined in a private or ward room?

No.  RA 9439 applies only to charity patients.  Therefore, patients who stayed in private rooms shall not be covered by this Act.

Under R.A. 9439, a private room is defined as a single occupancy room or a ward type room divided by either a permanent or semi-permanent partition (except curtains) not to exceed four patients per room who are admitted for diagnosis, treatment and other forms of health care maintenance.

The guy’s mother stayed in a private room for the whole duration of her confinement.  And although the provisions of the Act do not apply to her, the hospital cannot prevent her from leaving still.  Insisting on having her stay until her family is able to make a payment may result to a case of illegal detention, an entirely different matter that the family may tackle in court.

The hospital was gracious enough to allow them to make a partial payment and execute a promissory note.  I lingered until they were done speaking with the hospital staff at the billing section just to find out if their request was accommodated.  I was delighted when they told me that they were granted permission to bring their mother home.  The hospital accepted the partial payment they made and honored the promissory note they submitted.






No Smoking in the Philippines!


In one of my recent trips to the Manila City Hall, I spotted a guy casually smoking a cigarette right outside the office of a city Councilor.  As I walked further down the hallway (which was lined with the offices of several other councilors) I saw more people puffing sticks after sticks of cigarettes.  If you are a non-smoker, you will find it extremely challenging to pass by these halls or sit by the concrete benches.  When I left the area half an hour later, I smelled like an ashtray and had a bit of headache from all the cigarette fumes I inhaled.

When the President signs the Executive Order that will ban smoking from all public places in the entire country, I wouldn’t have to worry about getting stuck in an area filled with other people’s cigarette smoke.  Once the drafted Executive Order is signed, smoking will be banned in all public places such as parks, bus stations and other public transportation terminals, alleyways between buildings, sidewalks, and even inside a vehicle as this is considered a public area.

The Department of Health is steadfast in monitoring the official implementation of the total smoking ban policy in the country. They are also moving towards having RA 9211, or the act regulating the packaging, use, sale, distribution, and advertisement of tobacco products amended to address gray areas like point-of-sale advertisements and designation of smoking areas.

Fresh, smoke-less air, anyone?

Tell us what you think about this latest news from the government.







Libreng Gamot.jpg

Happy New Year!

I hope you enjoyed the long vacation as much as I did.  It felt good to have spent quality time with families and friends we have not seen in a long time.  It was also nice to be able to take time off from our desks, not set our alarm clocks on several weeknights, and sleep till noon!  And the best part of it all?  The food!

Mula sa walang katapusang Christmas parties at reunions na pinuntahan mo, hanggang sa bisperas ng Pasko at Bagong Taon, siguradong enjoy ang lahat sa masasarap na pagkain tulad ng paella, lechon, spaghetti.  Kasama na diyan ang mga panalong desserts tulad ng cakes, kakanin, ice cream, fruit salad, at kung ano ano pa.  Minsan isang taon lang naman, ‘di ba?  Wala munang diet at kahit na ang mga kapamilya at kaibigan natin na medyo mataas ang cholesterol and blood sugar levels, nakikisama sa masarap na salo-salo.  Minsan isang taon lang naman kasi.

May magandang balita naman kasi ang Department of Health para sa mga hypertensive and diabetic patients ngayon bagong taon.  Simula January 2016, magpapamigay na ng libreng gamot para sa hypertension at diabetes ang DOH through regional rural health units (RHU)!

Yes, you read it right!  Free medicines!

Paano makaka-avail nito?  Narito ang mga kailangang gawin:

  1. Magpa konsulta sa pinaka malapit na health center o primary health care facility sa inyong lugar. Dito made-determine ang health condition ng taong nais mag avail ng mga libreng gamot.
  2. Ang diagnosis ay magmumula sa barangay health workers (BHW) sa mga RHU. Sila ay may mga aparato tulad ng  sphygmomanometer (Blood Pressure Apparatus) at Glucometer na siyang gagamitn sa check up ng pasyente.
  3. Kapag official na ang diagnosis (kumpirmadong hypertensive o diabetic ang pasyente) matapos ang mga test, sila ay maaari nang mag enroll sa DOH Hypertension and Diabetes Club ng RHU kung saan sila nakatira.

Bilang members ng club, sila ay may access sa mga sumusunod na libreng gamot:

  • Losartan
  • Amlodipine
  • Metoprolol
  • Metformin

Ang mga indigent patients na nangangailangan ng insulin ay mabibigyan din ng libreng insulin.

Sila din ay ibibilang sa mga health activities ng kanilang RHUs para ma-encourage sila sa active and healthy lifestyle.

Initially, bukas ang programang ito sa mga kababayan nating kapos-palad o iyong mga walang kakayanang bumili ng regular na gamot pang maintenance.  Ngunit, maaari pa din magpa konsulta ang mga hypertensive at diabetic patients na nagpapa check up sa mga private hospitals and medical centers; lalo na ang mga maraming out-of-pocket expenses sa kanilang maintenance medicines.

Punta na sa inyong mga RHUs at mag tanong tungkol sa benepisyong ito.

Bonjour. Mabuhay.

May Contact Center ng Bayan (CCB) na ginawa ang ating pamahalaan kung saan pwede tayong magsumbong ng reklamo natin sa serbisyo lalo na kung connected ito sa Anti-Red Tape Law or RA 9485 of 2007.

Below are some details regarding the CCB.

The Contact Center ng Bayan (CCB) is conceived to be the Philippine Government’s main helpdesk where citizens, civil society organizations, and other entities can voice their complaints and concerns with government agencies and gain access to information.

The CCB is a voice-based contact service that will operate Monday to Friday from 8:00am to 5:00pm. Additional contact channels, such as email and SMS Text will be implemented in the near future.

The CCB will have a special 1-6565 hotline number accessible to PLDT and Digitel Landlines nationwide. Callers will be charged P5.00 per call plus VAT. Callers will also have access to recorded Information-on-Demand from participating government agencies. The system will have a transfer feature that can route calls to a live agent if necessary. These agents will also have call transfer capability that will allow calls to be routed to specialist agents at the Civil Service Commission, the National Computer Center, the Bureau of Internal Revenue, PhilHealth, the Department of Health, and the Department of Trade and Industry.

The CCB will also have the website www.contactcenterngbayan.gov.ph that will support the main operations of the CCB by providing static information about the CCB member government agencies. The information will be updated on a regular basis to ensure that information is always current.

The Contact Center ng Bayan is present to provide an avenue for the public to air out concerns on the quality of frontline service delivery by government personnel and any other violations of the Republic Act No. 9845 or the Anti-Red Tape Act of 2007 (ARTA) for resolution, insighting, and process  improvement.

It is also able to provide information about government agency policies and procedures initially focused on the Civil Service Commission, the National Computer Center, the Bureau of Internal Revenue, PhilHealth, the Department of Health, and the Department of Trade and Industry, who are all part of the CCB.

Tawag na kung may concern ka 🙂


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