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AnaKalusugan, 1-UTAK forge strategic alliance to push for wider health benefits forPUV drivers

Healthcare advocate AnaKalusugan Party-list and 1-United Transport Koalisyon (1-UTAK) on Tuesdaysigned a strategic alliance accord to push for wider health protection foreligible public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers nationwide.

“Our public transport drivers are frontliners, too. They are exposed both to COVID-19 as well as common health dangers as part of their everyday essential work,” AnaKalusugan nominee Ray Reyes said.

1-UTAK chairman Vigor Mendoza II said the transport group has seen the commitment of AnaKalusugan in pushing for key legislative measures that promote and protect the health of Filipinos.

“AnaKalusugan has been at the forefront of efforts to fight for free medical checkups, removal of VAT on maintenance medicines, and regularization and wider benefits of health workers, including our barangay health workers who are our first responders at the community level,” Mendoza said.

“For the transport sector, we believe AnaKalusugan is our best partner in Congress to push for wider benefits for our PUV drivers,” Mendoza added.

AnaKalusugan nominee Ray Roquero said as part of its advocacy to extend healthcare to all,theparty-list will be extending its membership cards to bona fide members of 1-UTAK.

The cards have the following benefits for PUV drivers: free teleconsultation, priority in case AnaKalusugan mobile clinics visit their respective areas, and priority in case there will be a Kalusugan Kard implemented in their cities or provinces.

PUV driverswho have to deal with heavy traffic, pollution and changing weather almost everyday, AnaKalusugan nominee Gina Mandanas said, are most vulnerable to chronic health conditions such as hypertension, sleep apnea, diabetes, muscular-skeletal problems, among others.

“These medical conditions do not only impair the driving ability of drivers, but also impact on their health and well-being. And with the pandemic putting a dent on their income and amid the consecutive increases in pump prices, our PUV drivers can ill-afford to get sick, much less go to a hospital,” Mandanas said.

In the province of Batangas, where the Kalusugan Health Kard was first implemented, patients can already avail of free medical services in any government hospitals within the province and other accredited health facilities. The medical services include the professional fees of doctors, laboratory fees and use of hospital rooms and other medical facilities, among others.

In the past three years in Congress, AnaKalusugan party-list has principally authored 15 measures increasing the capacity and upgrading hospitals across the country, 10 measures to improve the welfare of medical and health workers, 16 measures to boost health services across the country, and 16 measures to beef up the country’s pandemic response.

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