Members of Akbayan Partylist hold a protest, urging senators to thoroughly investigate the alleged syndicated eye scam, at the Senate of the Philippines in Pasay City on Thursday. Complaints have been raised against unscrupulous eye clinics that have performed scores of unnecessary medical operation on patients in order to bloat their payment claims from Philhealth. (MNS Photo)

Members of Akbayan Partylist hold a protest, urging senators to thoroughly investigate the alleged syndicated eye scam, at the Senate of the Philippines in Pasay City on Thursday. Complaints have been raised against unscrupulous eye clinics that have performed scores of unnecessary medical operation on patients in order to bloat their payment claims from Philhealth. (MNS Photo)

MANILA (Mabuhay) – President Benigno Aquino III on Monday boasted that some 89.4 million Filipinos can now avail of free health assistance coverage through the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth).

“Sa PhilHealth dumating tayo na 47 million lang ang benepisyaryo. Halos nadoble na po natin ito nitong Hulyo. Pumalo ang saklaw ng PhilHealth sa 89.4 milyong Filipino,” Aquino said in his last State of the Nation Address.

He added that his administration also amended the qualification of beneficiaries.

“Tuwing eleksyon parang kabuteng nagsusulputan ang [mga] benepisyaryo ng PhilHealth dahil imbes na pangangailangan ng taumbayan ay interes ng kandidato ang naging basehan ng pagpili. Itinama na natin ang ganyang  kalakaran,” he said.

He added that since 2014, 40 percent of the poorest of the poor can now avail of free treatment in public hospitals.

“Ito po ‘yung pagkalingang tinatawag ng iba na palpak at manhid. Ang tugon ko, sabi nga ni Aiza Seguerra: I thank you, bow,” he said.

Shown during the speech was a video clip of one of the beneficiaries of PhilHealth who availed of free treatment for quadruple heart bypass in a public hospital.

“Nadugtungan na ang buhay ko. Yung serbisyo parang private, parang kinonsider na paid patient ako. Yung aming inilaang pera ay magagamit sa post operation. Nagpapasalamat ako sa PhilHealth at gobyerno,” he said. (MNS)