Thu. May 26th, 2022

MANILA – President Rodrigo R. Duterte, yesterday inaugurated the newly constructed Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) Hospital that will cater to OFWs and their legal dependents.

The new OFW Hospital in San Fernando, Pampanga, partially opens May 2 for Out-Patient services, fully operational by June 2022.

“Please know that this is the government’s way of thanking our OFWs for their valuable contributions to our country’s socio-economic progress and for their critical role in upholding the Filipino identity in the global community,” the President said.

He vowed full support for initiatives that promote the welfare and development of OFWs, noting that they are among the government’s “reliable partners” in nation-building, especially during challenges, calamities, and crises such as the Covid-19 pandemic.

Partial operations will begin Monday for outpatient polyclinic services, and full 100-bed operation is expected by the end of June, according to Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Usec. Benjo Benavidez.

Built on a 1.5-hectare property in the City of San Fernando, donated by the Pampanga provincial government, the hospital was established through the joint efforts of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) as manager, Bloomberry Cultural Foundation for the cost of construction, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. for funding the procurement of medical equipment, and the University of the Philippines – Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH) for the initial operations.

The hospital’s services will be free for OFWs, including their dependents.

There is no limit to the number of dependents who can also avail of the services, Benavidez said, as long as the migrant worker is registered with the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA).

The one-stop Malasakit Center and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration desk are also available in the hospital to provide easier access to assistance, including billing and medicines.

As Chair of the Senate Health Commitee Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go who led officials from the national and regional agencies and the provincial government of Pampanga for the groundbreaking of the first ever OFW Hospital in the Philippines last February 2020 said, “Finally meron na pong ospital ang asting mga OFWs! Natupad rinang matinding pnagako ng ating Pangulong Duterte sa ating mga ‘unsung heroes’.”

Go continued, “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.”

The President hopes OFW Centers would be established in major cities. Kaya bilang mambabatas, talagang natutuwa akong makita na binibigyan natin ng tamang pagkilala ang mga bagong bayani sa panahong ito,” said Go

Construction started last year while Executive Order 154, signed on Dec. 7, 2021, hastened the completion of the hospital.

The EO likewise created the Inter-Agency Committee on the OFW Hospital (ICOH) chaired by the DOLE Secretary and co-chaired by the Health Secretary.

The ICOH is in charge of determining and undertaking, in coordination with the Governance Commission for Government-Owned and -Controlled Corporations, the appropriate steps for the formal establishment and/or incorporation of the OFW Hospital in accordance with Republic Act 10149 or the GOCC Governance Act of 2011; and assuming, performing, and carrying out functions and responsibilities of its Board of Trustees.

WATCH RTVM VIDEO : Duterte opens new OFW hospital

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