Senator and Chair of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography Christopher “Bong” Go lauded President Rodrigo Duterte for signing an executive order which will secure the completion of the country’s first hospital dedicated to overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in San Fernando City, Pampanga.
With a 100-bed capacity, the hospital will primarily cater to OFWs and their qualified dependents. In addition to providing medical care, it will also conduct research on the prevention, care and treatment of occupational diseases common among OFWs as well as train health workers on the implementation of OFW-specific occupational health services.
“Masakit para sa akin na makita ang mga OFWs na iniiwan ang kanilang mga mahal sa buhay para lamang makapagtrabaho sa mga malalayong bansa. Marami sa kanila ang nawalan ng mga trabaho dulot ng pandemya at namomroblema kung ano ang ipangtutustos sa kanilang mga pamilya kapag may nagkasakit sa kanila,” shared Go.
Newly signed Executive Order No. 154 provides for the creation of the Inter-Agency Committee on the OFW Hospital (ICOH) to serve as the Board of Trustees of the hospital. The body’s main functions and responsibilities will include promulgating policies and implementing plans and programs of the hospital, among others.
The ICOH will be composed of the Secretaries of the Department of Labor and Employment, Department of Health, and Department of Budget and Management; Administrators of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration and the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration; and two representatives from the private sector as appointed by the President.
Through OWWA, a referral system will be created to ensure the efficient delivery of medical and healthcare services, including the conduct of pre-employment medical examinations of departing OFWs.
The construction work for the hospital officially commenced in January 2021 and is expected to be completed by the end of the year. Costs of the initial construction phase, which amounted to P521.8 million, was funded by the Bloomberry Cultural Foundation, Inc.
As part of his commitment to advance the welfare of OFWs, Go personally led the groundbreaking ceremony in February 2020. During the event, he met with Nancy Valencia, an undocumented domestic helper who was repatriated from Lebanon with the help of the senator’s office.