By Mario Casayuran
Before the Senate and the House of Representatives adjourn sine die on June 5, Senator Christopher Go, chairman of the Senate health and demography committee, sought the passage of several local hospital bills to further improve the delivery of medical and healthcare services to the public.
In a virtual Senate session on May 27, Go pushed for the passage of five bills seeking to establish the Bicol Women’s and Children’s Hospital, and further capacitate Quirino Memorial Medical Center, Western Visayas Medical Center, Siargao District Hospital and Malita District Hospital.
“I have the honor to sponsor today several local hospital bills which are aimed towards the improvement of some of our government hospitals,” Go said, adding that it is crucial to pass these measures during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
Go stressed that these legislative measures would complement the Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa (BP2) Program, citing that most modern hospitals are located in Metro Manila where people migrate in order to be treated.
“We aim to capacitate our government hospitals, especially in the provinces. This is also in line with the Balik Probinsiya initiative of the government,” he said.
“Improving health capacity and upgrading capability of hospitals in the provinces would help enhance the health and overall well-being among the entire Philippine population,” he added.
During the plenary session, Go sought the establishment of the Bicol Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Camarines Sur, noting that the bed to population ratio in the province is at 1:1,260. This ratio is more than the Department of Health (DOH) national standard of 1:1,000.
Go also sought the increase in the capacity of the Quirino Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City from 500 to 1,000 beds, citing the overcapacity of the health facility in previous years.
“QMMC has an average bed occupancy rate of 268 percent from 2015 to 2017. This means it operates more than twice its capacity. Hence, the urgent need for an upgrade,” he said.
Go also included Western Visayas Medical Center in Iloilo City to increase its bed capacity from 425 beds to 700 beds.
The senator from Davao wanted to make WVMC an apex hospital in the Western Visayas region that would consist of various healthcare facilities.
“The Universal Health Care Act requires the establishment of province-wide health systems, which consist of accredited health facilities and functional referral systems. In line with this, the Department of Health envisions WVMC to be an apex hospital in Western Visayas,” Go said.
For Mindanao, Go moved to upgrade Siargao District Hospital in Surigao del Norte into a Level 2 general hospital to be known as the Siargao Island Medical Center, citing that the island only has five district hospitals which have limited capabilities.
He also emphasized the need to improve health facilities in the island, saying that he himself was a witness to how people would flock from Siargao to farther areas just to be treated.
Go, likewise, sought to upgrade the Malita District Hospital in Davao Occidental to the Malita Women’s and Children’s Wellness Center, saying that the upgraded health facility would provide healthcare services on prenatal, postnatal, and neonatal care, lactation programs, children’s immunization, other women and pediatric care.
The Senate will be tackling next week two more local bills that aim to increase the bed capacity of the Cagayan Valley Medical Center and the Las Piñas General Hospital and Satellite Trauma Center.
He then urged his colleagues to support the passage of the measures, saying that such initiatives would enhance the capabilities of government hospitals across the country to look after the wellbeing of the people.