The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) forged a Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Health (DOH), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), and the Manila International Airport Authority to strengthen inter-agency coordination and harmonize the agencies’ policies, processes and procedures during medical repatriation cases.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter S. Cayetano cited the need to work as a team to deliver a more responsive, timely, and well-coordinated assistance to Overseas Filipinos that need to be repatriated because of critical medical conditions.
Secretary Cayetano, in his keynote address during the signing ceremony of the JMC, stressed that the new measure is an instrument of healing that will give chance to our ailing ‘kababayans’ to be with their loved ones for their faster recovery.
Based on 2016 DOH data, the most frequent medical reasons for repatriation are cerebrovascular accidents or stroke, cardiovascular disease or heart attack, mental disorder, renal failure and cancer.
The Joint Memorandum Circular on the “Integrated Policy Guidelines and Procedures in the Conduct of Medical Repatriation of Overseas Filipinos” (JMC) is considered a landmark measure because it delineates the roles and responsibilities of the various agencies from the identification of the patient to its transportation to the Philippines and post-arrival stage.
It also seeks to institute a standard reporting and monitoring system for medical repatriation.
The Joint Memorandum Circular also covers procedures for medical repatriation for undocumented Overseas Filipinos.
Under the newly issued JMC, the referring agencies like the DFA-Office of Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs or DOLE-Overseas Workers Welfare Administration in consultation with the Overseas Post will identify the needed assistance and services such as: airport assistance and initial medical evaluation, ambulance conduction, referral/endorsement to DOH hospitals or non-DOH facilities, appropriate financial assistance through the DSWD or DOH Medical Assistance Program, PhilHealth membership coverage, medical escort services and psychosocial counseling.
“We commend the efforts of the various agencies like DOH, DOLE, DSWD, DILG, MIAA for heeding to the President’s directive of prioritizing the Overseas Filipinos welfare especially during times of distress,” the DFA Secretary added.
The DFA chief urged all other agencies to “go extra mile” to ensure the success of this JMC.
He pointed out that the members of the agencies need to meet again after two to three months to assess the implementation progress of the new measure so as to address various issues and concerns that may be encountered along the way.END