Cayetano prods gov’t to prioritize funding PH’s healthcare infrastructure programs

Published April 30, 2021, 4:26 PM

by Hannah Torregoza 

Senator Pia Cayetano said it is high-time the government prioritizes investments in infrastructure for healthcare facilities to enable the Philippines cope with health emergency crisis like the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Cayetano, during the Senate Committee on Health and Demography’s hearing on the various bills tackling the creation of specialty hospitals and medical centers across the country, lamented that over the years prioritization of infrastructure for healthcare facilities has not been consistent.

Lawmakers, she said, should support these bills considering the importance of investing in healthcare services.

“Clearly, we all know that COVID-19 has put a spotlight on health care and has revealed the gaps in our systems,” Cayetano pointed out during the virtual hearing on Thursday, April 29.

“We all know that healthcare services must go on despite COVID-19 and there has been many instances when they had been compromised,” said the vice-chair of the Senate health panel.

Cayetano said one the main and present concerns state economic managers need to address are investments in healthcare infrastructure.

“There is limited resources and we have to ensure that we allocate these resources to address these gaps,” she stressed.

Among the measures Cayetano is seeking to expedite include Senate Bill No. 63 or an Act Establishing a Priority Infrastructure Plan for Public Health Facilities, and Senate Bill No. 287 or the Act Establishing Specialty Centers Attached to Existing Hospitals and Medical Centers of the Department of Health (DOH), which she both filed.

Other senators who filed similar measures are Senators Sonny Angara, Ralph Recto, Ramon “Bong” Revilla, Jr. and Manuel “Lito” Lapid.

Cayetano, in filing Senate Bill No. 63, called for the establishment of a priority infrastructure plan for public health facilities to be determined by the DOH for a period of five years.

The five-year period is meant to improve the quality of the country’s healthcare system through careful planning and plotting of priority areas for building healthcare facilities and providing a fixed annual budget to achieve the goal.

“At the end of the five-year period, it is our vision to be able to build infrastructures to make healthcare accessible to all,” she stated in the bill.

“To most effectively protect and promote the health of the population, the nation’s entire governmental public health infrastructure must be revitalized and strengthened. This will require political and financial support over time,” she stressed. [Hannah L. Torregoza]