LINGAYEN--- The European Community represented by Michel Ligthart recently met with the budget and finance officers of the province to find ways on how to help Pangasinan strengthen further its Local Government Units Public Finance Management.
Ligthart , a consultant of the European Community, said the EC intends to give some technical assistance on the strengthening of LGU PFM since Pangasinan is a recipient of a grant from the EC under the Health Sector Policy Support Program (HSPSP) of the Department of Health.
Atty. Janet Abuel, Regional Director of the Department of Budget Management said Pangasinan received a grant of some 4 million euro from the EC for training purposes for the LGU PFM as a support to the health sector.
As a requirement, there is a need to strengthen the LGU PFM on the usage of funds, planning and disbursement.
The EC is concerned with the strengthening program of the provice on how to uplift the health sector because Pangasinan will serve as a representative of all the provinces in the country.
The group visited only two provinces, Pangasinan and Cavite and the EC have chosen Pangasinan as the pilot province for the implementation of the various programs of the health sector under the HSPSP.
Abuel noted that the EC was impressed with the performance of the LGU PFM even as they have realized that the LGUPFM can function well even without the grant so the EC wanted to extend the assistance to other programs not related to health.
Towards this end, the European Community is now planning to give an independent funding for the strengthening program.
Meanwhile, Gov. Amado T. Espino, Jr, said this is a welcome development to the health program of Pangasinan.
Being one of his priority programs, the province has embarked on various health care programs one of which is the enrollment of indigent families to Philhealth to enable the poor Pangasinense avail of medical services.
This is the first time in the history of Pangasinan that the province has taken steps for a universal enrollment of all indigent heads of families.
In two and a half years, phenomenal results were achieved because Pangasinan has become number one in Philhealth universal coverage besting Cebu and Bukidnon who used to be number one.
From a total of 27,000 enrolees in July 2007, we now have a total number of 260,000 indigent Pangasinenses covered by health insurance.
The 14 hospitals in the province have also undergone various stages of improvement and upgrading and established a dialysis center with 12 dialysis machines.
Aside from hospital and curative health care, the provincial government has also pursued an aggressive public health program and strengthened its capability for disease prevention and promotion of healthy lifestyles and practices in our communities. (PIO/Angeline D. Villanueva)