Marcos asks Senate to pass bill seeking to ease suffering of terminally ill people

What could be more precious to a dying man than to spend the rest of his life with his loved ones, relatively free from pain and emotional torment?

To help terminally ill people and their families, Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr. urged the Senate to approve Senate Bill 3342, or “The Palliative and End of Life Care Act”, which he filed last December.

He noted that such critical medical condition crushes not only the physical well-bing of the patient, but likewise devastates the emotional, psychological, financial and spiritual welfare of his or her family, relatives and friends.

“One cannot over-emphasize the imperative need to provide comprehensive medical treatment for a patient with acute illness in order to make his or her life humanely bearable despite the pain and agony of being terminally ill,” Marcos said.

Under the measure, all government and private hospitals and health centers are required to provide palliative care and end of life services to all patients with life-threatening illness.

Palliative care improves the quality of life of patients and families who face life-threatening illness, by providing pain and symptom relief, spiritual and psychosocial support from diagnosis to the end of life and bereavement.

The bill also seeks to entitle immediate family members or relatives who actually look after or take care of a critically ill patient with compassionate care leave benefit of 60 days a year with full pay.

Likewise, the measure proposes the establishment of a Palliative Care Trust Fund exclusively for the financial support and assistance for the medical needs of indigent patients.

The bill calls for a funding of P500 million in addition to the budget of the Department of Health, which should be equitably allotted to the provinces, cities and municipalities for the initial implementation of the act.

For the succeeding years, appropriate sum for the continued implementation of the program shall be included in the annual General Appropriations Act.

“The life of a terminally ill patient can still be meaningful and comforting even in the face of seemingly insurmountable trial, with the support of family and friends, and with a comprehensive palliative treatment and attention, thereby making the journey through life well-lived and consoling,” Marcos said.

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