Photo from Presidential Photographers Division

Photo from Presidential Photographers Division

DAVAO CITY – Newly-inaugurated President, Rodrigo Duterte, said that he is sending Health Secretary Paulyn Jean Ubial to Cuba to learn how they are running their health service.

During his first meeting with the members of his Cabinet, Duterte said the Philippines could copy Cuba’s good practices in its welfare system as Filipinos continue to suffer from the inaccessible health care service.

Duterte cited the experience of doctors from the Philippine General Hospital who complained that they themselves would shell out money to help patients buy the medicines.

He said if Pagcor’s billions of profits would be allocated to fund health services it “would go a long way to provide relief to almost every Filipino” especially to those who cannot afford to buy medicines.

As of March 31, 2016, Pagcor’s Statement of Income and Expenses showed that it has a net income of P1,040,422,944.03.

The state-owned gaming firm posted a total income of P11,549,625,355.77, operating expenses of P3,373,929,291.78, and total contribution to nation building at P7,135,273,119.96.

“That’s why I’m sending Secretary Ubial to Cuba. So kung sinong gustong pumunta, that has something to do with human welfare, they have a good practice there and if you guys want to go there you can go, I will allow you,” he said.

“They had perfected a welfare system for all na ba ka makopya natin (that we could copy),” he said.

“Kasi ang tao kapag walang maibili ng medisina patay. Masakit pakinggan yan pero that is the reality from the ground (If the people cannot buy medicine he will die. That is hurtful to hear but that is the reality from the ground),” Duterte said.

The World Health Organization has praised Cuba’s health care system for being efficient and attaining universal health coverage.

In a case study titled “Cuban experience with local production of medicines, technology transfer and improving access to health”, which was published in 2015 by WHO,  enlisted the Cuban Government’s changes made in the health sector, which developed prevention of diseases.

“Health activities to fight infectious diseases were carried out nationwide, among them the national polio vaccination campaign; this activity, held annually since 1962, has eliminated polio in Cuba, an achievement officially recognized by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the (WHO),” it said.

Cuba, in 1966, “created the first health science institutes in specialized hospitals.” The country’s health system was “conceived as a fully integrated national system.”

In a statement on June 8,2016, WHO said Cuba was the first country to be validated for having successfully eliminated mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis in 2015.

In 2015, Cuba posted its life expectancy at 78.45 years on average. (

  • George Lumicao

    We have the barranggay health system which I believe is a grassroots level we should strengthen this practice and introjduced back the doctors to the barrios and a pharmacia ng bayan ! Well Cuba has proven it has a good system we could adopt .

  • TomD

    Cuba has a two-tier health care system, (1) a modern, clean system of hospitals and clinics, primarily for foreigners who pay cash, usually US dollars, for access to them, and for those privileged Cubans who are communist party apparatchiks, and (2) a second, separate system, free to all Cubans that is generally poorly equipped, dirty, often in a poor state of repair and chronically short of personnel, supplies and medicines. Cubans who enter the hospital in this second-tier system must provide their own syringes, towels and bed linens.

    Most Cubans are prohibited from entering the modern system. When Philippine officials travel to Cuba, they will almost certainly be shown facilities in the top-tier, foreigner system, but told they are general facilities for the Cuban public. It is a lie.

  • Ron SelenaSteven Scott

    How can you say its a lie? Ive been in cuba so many times.lately few months ago.dont talk shit you never been there! World class facilities and doctors they have..and most of all quality doctors.

  • TomD

    If you’ve been to Cuba in the recent past, and you are not a Cuban citizen, you most likely visited facilities only for foreigners that are not available to the average Cuban citizen . . . perhaps they are available to the political elite in Cuban society, but not to the average Cuban:

    Philippine officials must be very careful to draw broad, general conclusions from a visit to Cuba if they are only shown health-care facilities by the Cubans that are only available to foreigners and a few of the Cuban political elite.

  • Avery_23

    Corrupt ang DOH.

  • Avery_23

    No! That is not feasible at all.

  • w.andrada

    Good idea, send them also to Scandinavia and other countries with a universal health care system. A combination of premium paid by workers and partly subsidized by government profits from gambling ,oil and other revenues..On the issue of resettlements of the poor and homeless, send your team to Israel to learn how kibbutzim and collectivism work, Government sponsored settlements can solve our poverty and decongest our cities from slums. through the help of several battalions of Army Corps of Engineers. instead of corrupt private contractors.In mobilizing millions into different settlement sights and projects.Mining will be regulated to rehab the lands and environement and give back some of the profits to the communities that they use .Traffif will be militarized like a North Korean Military Parade. convoys of buses running in synchrony in several convoys or groups at dedicated lanes and a temporary moratorium on private cars except for emergencies,diplomatic use ans special permits to go out of town. Drugs and criminality starting at the trained barangay tanod bayans. Big fishes , dynastic political corrupters and presumed untouchables will be taken cared of by the NPA. for a scheduled extinction process.. Duterte, General Bato and the other cohorts will look the other way and say, we know nothing , we see nothing and we are innocent.This is what we need for a quick fix and it is just the starter.

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