More than a year in office, the Duterte administration has failed to address the inequity in healthcare in the country. The Philippines remains under severe social and economic inequalities with 26% of the population living in poverty and have limited access to healthcare services despite the promise of change by the current administration.
While the Duterte Health Agenda or ACHIEVE appeared promising, but there were no substantial changes in the health policies and programs to address the basic health needs of the people especially the marginalized and disadvantaged sectors.
The reduction of health budget from P125 billion this year to P94 billion next year, or by a huge P31 billion is not only a far cry from the 5% of the Gross Domestic Product standard but it only means a low per capita health expenditure which will generally affect the delivery of healthcare services With no additional Barangay Health Stations (BHS) that were put up, thousands of people were deprived of the promotive, preventive, and curative healthcare programs. While existing BHS which are already dilapidated and neglected, lacking the needed personnel, medicines, and equipment are no longer effectively functioning and delivering the health services needed by the communities. The primary health services are still concentrated more in urban centers while rural communities have very little or no health facilities at all.