MANILA – Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go on Monday lauded President Rodrigo Duterte for signing into law his sponsored bills seeking to upgrade three local hospitals.

Go, chair of the Senate committee on health, was referring to Republic Act 11472 which increases the bed capacity of the Caraga Regional Hospital (CRH) in Surigao City from 150 to 500 beds; RA 11473 upgrading the Talisay District Hospital (TDH) in Talisay City, Cebu into a medical center to be known as the Cebu South Medical Center; and RA 11474 which also upgrades the Maria L. Eleazar District Hospital (MLEDH) in Tagkawayan, Quezon into a Level 3 general hospital to be known as the Maria L. Eleazar General Hospital.

“Maraming salamat kay Pangulong Duterte dahil agaran niyang pinirmahan ang mga ito. Sa tulong ng mga kasamahan natin sa Kongreso, hangarin nating mas iangat pa ang kalidad ng ating mga pampublikong ospital lalo na sa mga probinsya (Thank you very much to President Duterte for immediately signing these (laws). With the help of our colleagues in Congress, our objective is to improve the quality of our public hospitals in the provinces),” Go said.

The newly enacted measures are expected to improve the delivery of quality medical and healthcare services in the provinces.

The CRH’s average bed occupancy rate from 2017 to 2018 was at 207.37 percent, way above the national standard of 85 percent while TDH is the only Department of Health (DOH) hospital in southern Cebu which also serves patients from neighboring Negros Oriental, Bohol and Siquijor provinces.

On the other hand, MLEDH is the only public hospital located at the border of Calabarzon and Bicol regions that has bed capacity of 25 beds only.

The RA 11474 will allow to increase the now Maria L. Eleazar General Hospital’s bed capacity “according to its hospital development plan, making it more responsive to the growing health care needs of the community”.

“Sa bawat health-related bill na naipapasa natin at nagiging batas, buhay ng kababayan natin ang pwedeng mailigtas mula sa sakit (Every health-related bills we passed and signed into law, more lives will be saved from illness),” Go said.

As chair of the Senate committee on health, Go said he will continue to work to improve medical services of the government in different parts of the country.

Apart from the passage of the three measures, Go said upgrading health care facilities must be streamlined and made easier to holistically improve the country’s health care system and make it more responsive to the needs of the people especially in times of health crises.

“Ngayon po natin pinaka-nararamdaman ang kakulangan ng ating mga pasilidad at ospital. Kaya importante po na magtulungan ang legislative at executive branches para maisaayos ang health facilities sa kahit saan mang parte ng bansa (We now realized that our facilities and hospitals are not enough. That’s why legislative and executive branches [of government] must help each other to improve the health facilities even in far-flung areas of our country),” Go said.

Last year, Go also filed Senate Bill 1226 or the proposed DOH Hospital Bed Capacity and Service Capability Rationalization Act in recognition of the need to provide the government a faster approach in upgrading services in public hospitals.

The bill aims to authorize the DOH to increase the bed capacity and service capability of its retained hospitals and to allow it to promulgate necessary evaluation and approval guidelines.

“Tulungan natin ang DOH na maisaayos ang mga ospital natin para mas maibigay sa mga tao ang mabilis, maayos at maaasahan na serbisyong medikal kahit saan mang parte ng bansa para sa lahat ng Pilipinong nangangailangan (We will help DOH to improve our hospitals so that they can deliver fast and reliable medical services for every Filipinos),” Go said in a previous statement.

The bill seeks to streamline the process for approving changes in the authorized bed capacities and corresponding service capabilities of all DOH hospitals. Through this bill, the process of upgrading hospital services will be easier and faster.

If passed into law, DOH will also be required to develop the Philippine Health Facility Development Plan which will guide the modernization and development plans of all health facilities in the country.

It will also facilitate access to capital outlay investment through the Health Facilities Enhancement Program of the DOH and other national government capital outlay investment mechanisms.

“Bilang Chair ng Senate Committee on Health, layunin natin na masigurado ang mas maayos na health care system habang sinusubukan nating lampasan ang mga problemang pangkalusugan lalo na sa krisis ngayon na dulot ng Covid-19. (As chair of the Senate committee on health, our objective is to have better health care system while we try to survive health problems particularly the present health crisis due to Covid-19). Let us all learn from this experience and better prepare ourselves for any health emergency that may come in the future,” Go said. (ia/PRIB)