Tulfo bats for higher budget for National Children's Hospital

Senator Raffy Tulfo pushed for the increase of the budget of the state-owned, sub-standard National Children’s Hospital (NCH).

The NCH, according to Tulfo, is a health facility for the children from the poorest families dealing with the most serious pediatric cases that is not receiving enough support from the government.

In his privilege speech yesterday, Tulfo revealed the ‘’appalling and heartbreaking situation’’ in the hospital which adversely affects its patients, such as its lack of manpower, below industry standard facilities, and outdated or lacking equipment.

He also urged the Department of Health (DOH), Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and his esteemed colleagues to personally visit the hospital to witness its difficulties firsthand.

“Mr. (Senate) President, the National Children’s Hospital, a health facility for the poorest and weakest, is in dire need of our help,’’ he said.

`’’There is something wrong in the way they are treated and how the government handles them. They are not getting the help they must receive,” he added.

To remedy the dire situation, Tulfo moved to augment the NCH budget by sourcing it from underperforming government agencies.

Tulfo, a veteran broadcaster doing public service prior to his election as senator, shared how the situation in NCH has not improved through the years, and in fact has even gotten worse.

He visited this back then for a Christmas treat celebration for the children and their parents, and made a donation.

In his recent visit to the hospital, Tulfo shared that the suffering of children and sadness and sorrow of parents accompanying them are visibly apparent on their faces as they were lined up in the hospital's cramped, hot and humid hallway which only compounded to their sufferings

Citing one case in particular that broke his heart, Tulfo recalled seeing a six-year-old boy with stage 4 liver cancer having a hard time breathing even if he already had an oxygen tank assisting him. He said that he was told that the patient was just waiting for his time to go.

Further discussing the problems hounding the hospital due to lack of budget, Tulfo said that NCH could not handle the number of patients that comes to them.

He said that there is a three-year waiting time for some of the therapies being offered to the patients including PT, OT, and speech therapy.

Tulfo said the hospital’s building, meanwhile, is dilapidated and its sorry state cannot properly accommodate children.

He described: “May basag na bintana at plywood ang ipinangtatakip dito (A plywood was placed to cover a broken window). There are not enough electric fans and no proper ventilation, and the windows have to be opened for fresh air. Sinabitan ng manipis na kurtina ang bintana marahil upang di makapasok ang mga lamok at alikabok!n (A thin curtain was placed apparently to keep mosquitos and dust off)’’

Furthermore, the senator from Isabela and Davao shared that he noticed water stains from the hospital’s ceiling, which is a sign of water leak in the roofs from the last rainfall.

Tulfo likewise recalled that the hospital’s therapy rooms are very small, which could not adequately accommodate children, thereby prompting doctors to instruct parents to just continue the therapy at home instead of having it two to three times a week at the hospital.

He made his privilege speech in time for National Children’s Month, which is celebrated every November by virtue of Republic Act No. 10661.