The Taguig City government has taken a stance to provide essential healthcare services to the residents of enlisted men’s barrios or “embos”.
The embos are the people who find themselves without access to healthcare facilities following the sudden closure of Makati’s health centers. The dispute between the two cities involved the backdrop of legal decisions, administrative back-and-forths, and a growing concern for the well-being of the affected residents.
Makati’s decision to comply with a Supreme Court ruling favouring Taguig lies at the root of the controversy. This compliance led to the disqualification of residents from subsidised healthcare services at the “embo” barangays in Makati. Consequently, Makati closed health centers and lying-in clinics in these areas, citing the expiration of licenses. Taguig then approached to address the immediate healthcare needs of “embo” residents in response to the subsequent vacuum.
Taguig’s Comprehensive Response
The Taguig City government swiftly announced the initiation of free teleconsultation services for residents who were left without access to Makati’s healthcare services. Consequently, Taguig opened its 31 health centers and three superhealth centers. That move ensured that “embo” residents still have essential medical services to bridge the gap. Additionally, free dialysis services have been made available to those in need.
The city claimed to have anticipated this transition. They cited an agreement with Mayor Abby Binay to take over the management of health centers from October 1, 2023. However, Taguig claims Makati backpedalled from this agreement just days before the scheduled turnover, intensifying the administrative discord.
Makati’s city administrator, Claro Certeza, refuted Taguig’s claims, accusing the latter of wrongfully blaming Makati for the health center closures. Certeza argued that Taguig was aware of the necessity for health centers in the “embo” barangays to possess valid licenses. According to Certeza, the Department of Health had reminded Taguig to renew these licenses. He further alleged that Taguig failed to fulfil its responsibilities.
Supreme Court Decision
Adding another layer to the dispute, the Supreme Court upheld its decision to officially transfer jurisdiction over the 10 “embo” barangays from Makati to Taguig. These barangays include Cembo, South Cembo, Comembo, East Rembo, West Rembo, Pembo, Pitogo, Post Proper Northside, Post Proper Southside, and Rizal.
Taguig’s Satellite Pharmacy
Taguig opened a satellite pharmacy on the second floor of the Genesis Building along J.P. Rizal Extension in Barangay East Rembo. This was accomplished in a commendable effort to address the immediate healthcare needs of “embo” residents. This pharmacy provides residents with free medicines prescribed through telemedicine consultations. Additionally, those with prescriptions from the last three months can avail themselves of free maintenance medicines. The satellite pharmacy operates weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and accepts Philippine Health Insurance Corp. and medical assistance applications.
The healthcare dispute between Taguig and Makati has left the residents of the “embo” barangays in a vulnerable position. The immediate concern is ensuring that residents have uninterrupted access to essential healthcare services while the legal and administrative tussle unfolds. Therefore, Taguig’s proactive measures, ranging from free teleconsultation services to establishing a satellite pharmacy, signify a compassionate approach to addressing the urgent needs of those affected by the closure of healthcare facilities. As the jurisdictional discord persists, it underscores the critical importance of collaborative efforts and a shared commitment to prioritise the well-being of residents in the face of bureaucratic challenges.