City officials urged the one hundred twenty-eight barangays to appropriate an amount for the purchase of medicines and other medical and wellness needs for senior citizens in their annual budgets in compliance to pertinent laws, rules and regulations.
Under Resolution No. 490, series of 2022, city legislators stated that the budget for the purchase of maintenance and other medicinal and wellness needs for the senior citizens shall be appropriated under the Senior Citizens Fund which has been mainstreamed in the annual budgets of the barangays.
For uniform application, the council claimed that the distribution of medicines and other medicinal and wellness needs shall be done pursuant to the guidelines to be set by the City Social welfare and Development Office (CSWDO) and the office of the Senior Citizens Affairs (OSCA).
The council added that maintenance medicines are prescription drugs used to treat conditions considered chronic or long-term which requires regular or daily intake for a long period.
Among the commonly used maintenance medicines are Losartan and Amlodipine for hypertension; Metformin for diabetes and Simvastatin for high cholesterol.
Previously, the health department used to supply maintenance medicines to the local government units but with the devolution transition plan of this department and the implementation of the Mandanas-Garcia ruling of the Supreme Court, it is now the responsibility of the local governments to provide for the health needs of their respective constituency, which include the purchase of maintenance medicines.
According to the council, the Mandanas-Garcia ruling, in effect, increased the share of the local governments in the national tax allotment, formerly called the internal revenue allotment.
With the increase in the share of the local governments in all taxes and revenues, including the barangays, the body stipulated that the devolution of services and facilities from the national government to the local governments will proceed.
Moreover, the council emphasized that the substantial increase in revenues will surely enable the barangays to improve the delivery of basic services, such as health services, to their respective constituencies.
With strengthened local autonomy, the council pointed out that the barangays now have the administrative autonomy to identify their own priority programs which would support them in the effective discharge of their duties and functions pursuant to Section 17 of Republic Act 7160, or the Local government Code of 1991, which mandates barangays to provide for the delivery of health services, including the maintenance of barangay health centers.
In his letter dated September 26, 2022, City Accountant Antonio L. Tabin explained that this provision of the law neither prohibits nor explicitly provide for the purchase of maintenance medicines or medicines of any kind in order for the barangays to carry out the mandate of providing health services.
He pointed out that his office is of the view that the barangays can appropriate for the purchase and distribution of medicines subject to usual accounting, auditing and budgeting rules and regulations and other pertinent laws.
The city accountant also advised the barangays to observe prudence in their appropriations considering their limited funds.