PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has allotted P2 billion to the Department of Health to provide free medicines to indigents this Christmas season.
“You Filipinos listening to me: If you have prescriptions. Go to the [Department of Social Welfare and Development] or go to the city health office or the hospital itself and we will buy the medicines for you,” Duterte said during a later Christmas tree lighting ceremony Monday evening.
Duterte said the fund will come from the P5 billion dividend he recently received from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. for his socio-civic projects.
“I want every Filipino holding a prescription who cannot find the money to buy the medicine… [I told the Pagcor] give them P2 billion this Christmas,” Duterte said.
Pagcor Community Relations and Service Department head Arnell Ignacio had earlier said the President wanted to revive the Botika ng Bayan using the P5-billion dividend.
Duterte, meanwhile, also issued a Christmas message earlier than usual and he appealed for national unity for peace and support for the administration’s fight against illegal drugs and corruption.
Duterte asked members of his government to work hard to fulfill his campaign promise of bringing lasting peace in the country, stamping out corruption and ending the illicit drugs trade.
“I plead for the unity of the country. I plead for the next generation that there will be Filipinos able, competent, healthy and good,” the President said Monday in his message.
“I plead for peace so that our citizens can move around anytime of the day or night. And I ask everybody in government that together we will stop corruption,” he added.
He stressed that law-abiding citizens in the country will be protected and he will not stop until he puts an end to the problem of illegal drugs.
“I will end up the drugs. My orders are destroy the apparatus that has really damaged the Republic of the Philippines,” he further said.
The President also noted that the government peace panel, led by Secretary Silvestre Bello III, will be flying to Oslo, Norway on Tuesday for the resumption of peace talks with the communist insurgency.
Duterte said the government is also pursuing peace talks with the Moro National Liberation Front and Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
“I am happy, except for the extremists actually,” Duterte said, warning of the impeding danger posed by the Maute group in the coming days.