Thu. May 26th, 2022

Fifteen bills seeking to establish new hospitals, converting Department of Health (DoH)-operated sanitariums into general hospitals and upgrading the bed capacity of other medical facilities across the country, will soon be signed by President Rodrigo Duterte.

This was disclosed by Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go who authored the15 bills during the inauguration of the new Center for Thoracic and Critical Care Medicine sa Cardinal Santos Medical Center, San Juan City.

The chairman of the Senate Committee on Health said he lost the debates on the floor to the veteran senators, but he said, “kahit tumayo tayo rito ng isang lingo, hindi pa rin ako titigil dahil alam ko pona  ‘yung mahihirap ang pumupunta sa mga pampublikong hospital.” (…even if we stand here for e weeks, I will not stop fighting for the poor who go to government hospitals.)

The bills passed third and final reading in the Senate last January 31. Earlier, Senator Go had already successfully pushed for the enactment of 24 local hospital bills.

The new DOH hospitals to be established under Go’s sponsored measures include:

  1.  Ilocos Sur Medical Center in Candon City;
  2. Samar Island Medical Center in Calbayog City;
  3. Southern Luzon Multispecialty Medical Center in Tayabas, Quezon Province;
  4. Northwestern Cagayan General Hospital in Abulug, Cagayan;
  5. Joni Villanueva General Hospital in Bocaue, Bulacan;
  6. and Northeastern Misamis General Hospital in Villanueva, Misamis Oriental.

Among the proposed measures seeking to convert

  • Cotabato Sanitarium in Sultan Kudarat town in Maguindanao as a general hospital to be known as the Cotabato Sanitarium and General Hospital;
  • the Sulu Sanitarium in Jolo into a General Hospital to be known as the Sulu Sanitarium and General Hospital;
  • and the Western Visayas Sanitarium in Santa Barbara, Iloilo into a General Hospital to be known as the Western Visayas Sanitarium and General Hospital.

In addition, some of the measures aim to upgrade: 10) Bicol Regional Training and Teaching Hospital in Legazpi City, Albay into a general and subspecialty hospital to be known as the Bicol Regional Hospital and Medical Center; 11) Don Jose S. Monfort Medical Center Extension Hospital in Barotac Nuevo, Iloilo into a tertiary hospital to be known as the Don Jose S. Monfort Medical Center.

The senator also sponsored bills to increase the bed capacity of several hospitals, including: 12) Dr. Paulino J. Garcia Memorial Research and Medical Center in Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija from 400 to 1,000 beds;  13) Ilocos Training and Regional Medical Center in San Fernando City, La Union from 300 to 800 beds; 14) Northern Mindanao Medical Center in Cagayan de Oro City, Misamis Oriental from 600 to 1,200 beds;  15) and Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center in Cebu City from 1,200 to 1,500 beds.

“I want to note that these new hospitals already had or have funding for the initial construction and all of them have lots ready to be donated to the DoH. The availability of accessible and affordable hospital care is one of its most pressing needs,” Go said.

“It is also important to emphasize that all these hospitals for upgrading have funding in the 2022 General Appropriations Act, including budget under the Health Facilities Enhancement Program, which may be used to already improve the services in these hospitals,” he added.

The Senate Health chair stressed “The pandemic made us realize how important it is to invest in health. We face difficulty today because of decades of neglect. Today we realize our lack of hospitals, bed capacity and equipment.

“We need to strengthen our health facilities because we do not know when another pandemic will hit us. Let us not wait for our health care system to break down before we do something about it.”

Bong Go said establishing hospitals run by the national government should not be treated as a burden but rather as an investment.

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