Filipino households who were identified as poor in the third cycle of the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD) National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR) or Listahanan 3 will soon be prioritized to receive comprehensive health care services from the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth).

DSWD Secretary Rex Gatchalian officially signed the data sharing agreement (DSA) with PhilHealth President and Chief Executive Officer Emmanuel Ledesma, who was represented by Management Group Vice President Lemuel Untalan, on Wednesday (October 4) that will enable the government health insurance agency to access the DSWD’s list of poor households.

Under the agreement, PhilHealth will be authorized to utilize Listahanan 3 as its basis for prioritizing poor household beneficiaries of the National Health Insurance Program (NHIP), which was institutionalized by Republic Act No. 11223 or the Universal Health Care Act.

In his message, Secretary Gatchalian emphasized that the forged partnership “marks another strong signal of a whole-of-nation approach in trying to solve poverty”.

“We know that social welfare is one side of the coin, but we do know that there are more facets to bring our people out of poverty, and that includes healthcare,” Secretary Gatchalian pointed out.

Developed by the DSWD, the Listahanan serves as the basis for the selection of eligible beneficiaries of social protection programs and services of all national government agencies pursuant to Executive Order No. 867, Series of 2010.

Secretary Gatchalian said the DSWD is fortunate to share with PhilHealth the Listahanan data, which he considered “a very powerful tool” to ensure that the poor and most vulnerable will be provided the proper healthcare.

“We all know that the brand PhilHealth is synonymous to making sure that every single Filipino family is covered by universal healthcare and covered by the best type of healthcare there is,” the DSWD chief said.

PhilHealth Acting Head Executive Assistant (HEA) Joanne Teresa Madarieta said the data sharing agreement and turnover of the Listahanan 3 data “marks a significant step in fulfilling our mission to provide effective and efficient delivery of PhilHealth programs and services to the Filipino people, especially to our poor and marginalized kababayans.”

PhilHealth was among the end-users of the Listahanan 2 database, which the government health insurance agency utilized for its Indigent Program where millions of poor and vulnerable Filipinos have benefitted immensely.

Madarieta said the newest and updated data of the DSWD will be an invaluable resource for PhilHealth coverage to expand and improve the quality of its services.

“The increase in the number of covered Filipinos from 4.61 million in 2012 to 12.17 million in 2022 is a testament to the effectiveness of this collaboration,” Madarieta added.

DSWD Undersecretary Vilma B. Cabrera, who is in charge of the NHTS-PR and Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), explained that the Department continues to advocate the use and sharing of the Listahanan 3 through ongoing collaboration with various stakeholders both by the National Household Targeting Office (NHTO) and DSWD field offices.

“We are thankful to PhilHealth for their continued dedication to implement programs that are science-based, ensuring their responsiveness, through the utilization of the Listahanan data,” Undersecretary Cabrera said.

Present during the ceremonial agreement signing were Assistant Secretary for NHTS-PR Marites M. Maristela, Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs and DSWD Data Protection Officer (DPO) Irene B. Dumlao, and PhilHealth Acting Senior Vice President and DPO Nerissa R. Santiago.