The Department of Trade and Industry-Board of Investments (DTI-BOI) expressed its support for fostering an agile, resilient, and responsive healthcare system in the Philippines during the landmark launch of the Unilab Center for Health Policy (UCHP) in Makati City on March 20, 2024.

Notably, DTI-BOI attended the launch as a show of support for Unilab Foundation towards efficient public health in the Philippines. Last year, DTI Secretary Alfredo Pascual inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on pushing workforce development agenda with Unilab Foundation Executive Director Lilibeth Aristorenas, and Makati Business Club (MBC) Executive Director Francisco Alcuaz, Jr. to bolster the Filipino workforce to respond to the needs of the country’s various sectors such as manufacturing.

MAKING AN AGILE, RESILIENT, AND RESPONSIVE HEALTHCARE SYSTEM HAPPEN IN THE PHILIPPINES: Unilab Foundation launched the Unilab Center for Health Policy (UCHP) in Makati City on March 20, 2024. As a show of support, DTI-BOI representatives attended the pivotal event for the improvement of the country’s healthcare system.

The UCHP is the Unilab Foundation’s proactive approach to helping address health equity issues in the country. The project fully supports the implementation of the Universal Health Care Act and the National Government’s mission of ensuring accessible and quality healthcare for all Filipinos. The Center is conducting a series of research studies to provide data-driven, evidence-based solutions that they hope can aid policymakers in standardizing health programs.

A significant milestone in our commitment to advancing public health initiatives in the Philippines, UCHP will pursue a multi-sectoral approach to the efficient implementation of the UHC Act.

Representing DTI-BOI in the launching were Ms. Remedios F. Lim, Acting Division Chief, and Ms. Ivy Janelle A. Tan, Investments Specialist, of BOI’s Infrastructure and Services Industries Service.

Anchored on the Filipinos’ bayanihan spirit, Unilab President Clinton Campos Hess expressed his appreciation to the company’s various partners for their valuable contribution and unyielding support to the improvement of the country’s healthcare system.

Acknowledging the government’s proactive approach to addressing healthcare challenges, their collaborative efforts are both innovative and impactful, propelled by collective actions with partners aimed at enhancing accessibility, affordability, healthcare workforce, and financing.

Mr. Campos also expressed his optimism that the project will help the government in alleviating the problems of Filipinos who do not have access to affordable and effective healthcare system in the country.

“UCHP does not presume that it can help solve all the issues at hand. It is a modest attempt to bring together like-minded individuals and institutions desirous of nourishing our nation’s health care system. It is premised on government and the private sector working together,” Mr. Campos said.

“UCHP seeks to spawn ideas anchored on research and grounded on experience. Such an approach will help forge the appropriate interventions to the exigent health concerns of access, equity, quality, service delivery, UHC implementation, and the interphase of health with technology,” he added, emphasizing that the Center will serve as a platform for government to discuss and distill policies that will bring solutions suitable to Filipinos’ needs and circumstances. Such policies will be anchored on research and experience.

Ms. Aristorenas, Executive Director of Unilab Foundation, pointed out that the Philippines will embark on a journey for a healthier Philippines with the launch of UCHP.

For his part, Mr. Ruben John Basa, UCHP Program Director, said that stakeholders and government support are critical for the success of the project to drive innovation. “We are thrilled about what it can accomplish in the coming months and years,” he added.

Dr. Leonita Gorgolon, Assistant Secretary for UHC Policy and Strategic Cluster at the Department of Health (DOH), highlights that health policies play a crucial role in shaping the healthcare system and can be effectively realized with the support of both national and local government units. She emphasizes, “Health is not merely a privilege but a fundamental right for Filipinos.”

Dr. Enrique T. Ona, Chair of the UCHP Advisory Council, underscores the significance of the project as a pivotal milestone, revolutionizing healthcare access for all citizens.

Further, the DTI-BOI has been persistent and unyielding in its pursuit of more projects and investments that will level up the country’s healthcare system. Last year, Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual attended the launch of the Advanced Manufacturing Workforce Development Alliance (AMDev)— a five-year (2022- 2027) United States Agency for International Development (USAID) program.

AMDev, a Unilab Foundation (ULF) initiative, collaborates with model manufacturers, higher education and research institutions, non-profits, and government agencies to shape Philippine human resource policies. It aims to bolster the country’s competitiveness as it reaches high-middle income status and prepares its youth for success in Industry 4.0 or Advanced Manufacturing. ♦

Date of release: 15 April 2024