Commission of Filipinos Overseas
Commission of Filipinos Overseas

Secretary Imelda Nicolas, chairperson of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO), reported that one of the many problems plaguing medical missions sent to the Philippines has been solved.

In an email-letter sent to Willie Dechavez, chairperson of the Michigan chapter of the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA), Nicolas stated that the Professional Regulatory Commission (PRC) has suspended the enforcement of rules on the increase in fees for the issuance of special temporary permits to medical missioners and on the requirement for the missioners to secure liability insurance.

The collection of the increased fee – which is $300 per doctor or nurse participating in such missions – is one principal problem that has discouraged groups in the US from going to the Philippines to conduct medical and surgical services that benefit poor patients.

Reacting to Nicolas’s report on the suspension of the collection of the fees, NaFFAA National Chairman Ed Navarra lauded PRC for suspending the collection of the fees, saying this will certainly encourage Filipino-American groups to proceed with their plans to undertake medical missions in the Philippines.

Navarra thanked Secretary Nicolas for acting immediately on the problems.

Nicolas was one of the resource speakers at a discussion on the problems conducted during NaFFAA’s 10th Empowerment Conference held on August 2-5 in Detroit. After listening to the various Filipino-American groups of medical missioners who all objected to the collection of the fees, she pledged to immediately act on the matter.

She reported that at a meeting attended by representatives of the PRC and Department of Health (DoH), it was announced that PRC Chairperson Teresita Manzala is suspending immediately the enforcement of sections 5 and 17 of PRC Resolution 2012-668 which impose the collection of fees to missioners and require them to buy liability insurance.

NaFFAA Chairman Navarra was elated by PRC’s action. He said that as a result of the suspension of the collection, the 80 strong medical missioners of PAMMFM (Philippine American Medical Mission Foundation of Michigan) “headed by my wife Vickie will no longer suspend their mission to Allen, Samar on Jan. 26-Feb. 2, 2013 as all equipment, medicines have been shipped, and we are now in the process of buying airline tickets.”