May 27, 2024

The Insider News

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Speaker vows House support for initiatives to promote dental health of every Filipino

Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez vows full support of the House of Representatives for initiatives to promote health education and improved dental care for every Filipino in his keynote address during the Philippine Dental Association’s 115th Annual Convention and Scientific Sessions at the SMX Convention Center, Mall of Asia complex in Pasay City Monday (May 13, 2024).

SPEAKER Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez on Tuesday committed the full support of the House of Representatives for initiatives meant to promote health education and improved access to dental care for every Filipino. 

Romualdez made this pledge in his message as the keynote speaker during the 115th Convention of the Philippine Dental Association (PDA) Monday afternoon at the SMX Convention Center in the Mall of Asia complex in Pasay City. 

“As Speaker of the House, I am committed to supporting initiatives that promote health education and access to dental care. I believe strongly in our collective ability to make a difference,” said Romualdez, head of the 300-plus members House of Representatives.

“Proactively, the House of Representatives of the 19th Congress is advancing legislation to ensure every city and municipal health unit includes a dental service as part of its primary health care offering,” he added.

Likewise, Romualdez said the House is considering bills that would provide free medical and dental services to indigent Filipino children.

He noted that dental health is a critical, yet often overlooked, aspect of a person’s overall health as it affects how we eat, speak, and interact with others. Unfortunately, Romualdez said many Filipinos still suffer from preventable dental diseases. 

Romualdez cited statistical data showing that seven out of every 10 Filipinos have tooth decay. He also noted a 2020 report by the World Health Organization, saying the country lost an equivalent of USD825 million in productivity due to the five leading oral diseases. 

“The implications of neglecting oral health are dire, not just for our economy but for the future of our nation’s children. That’s why improving Filipino oral health must be a priority,” Speaker Romualdez stressed. 

In recognition of this need, he said the Philippine government has already taken decisive action. Section 6 (a) of Republic Act 11223, or the Universal Health Care Act, included dental services as one of the fundamental health services every Filipino is entitled to. 

Furthermore, he said the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion, or TRAIN law, enacted higher taxes on sugary beverages to curb consumption and thereby prevent oral diseases.

Despite these legislative efforts, Romualdez said oral health care often remains low on the list of priorities for many Filipinos. 

“That is why this convention’s theme, “Strength in Unity,” is so apt. It is only by joining forces — legislators, healthcare providers, community leaders, and industry stakeholders — that we can effect real change,” Romualdez said.

Romualdez said the stakeholders can join hands to launch sustained campaigns to encourage regular dental check-ups, promote better dietary choices, and educate the public about the benefits included in their healthcare coverage.

“Together, let us work to ensure that dental health is not just a privilege but a right accessible to all. Let us keep the Filipino smile not only warm and bright but also healthy and strong.