House panel wants clinics in public schools
Pasig Rep. Roman Romulo, chairman of the House committee on basic education and culture, consolidated House Bills 821, 3228 and 4232, all aimed at institutionalizing clinics in public schools.
Jun de Leon courtesy of PeopleAsia
House panel wants clinics in public schools
Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) - May 22, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — A committee of the House of Representatives has consolidated three measures aimed at putting up clinics in all public schools nationwide, especially following projections that the threat of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) will remain for quite some time. 

Pasig Rep. Roman Romulo, chairman of the House committee on basic education and culture, consolidated House Bills 821, 3228 and 4232, all aimed at institutionalizing clinics in public schools.

“It is imperative that we take the necessary and appropriate precautions to ensure the safety of students in the midst of this COVID-19 pandemic,” said House Deputy Speaker Aurelio Gonzales Jr., the author of HB 821. 

When logistics about the putting up of such clinics were brought up, the congressman of Pampanga’s third district explained that these clinics only need to be able to give first aid, which would be its primary function in times of emergency. 

Other authors include Reps. John Marvin Nieto (Manila) and Kristine Alexie Tutor (Bohol) for HBs 3228 and 4232, respectively.

Undersecretary Alain del Pascua of the Department of Education (DepEd) told the panel that only 28 percent of the public school system across the country have clinics of their own, and that government has about a 72 percent backlog if they want all schools to have such. 

“Of the 47,013 schools nationwide, we only have clinics in about 28 percent of them. That’s about 13,081 public schools. So we really need to establish clinics in these schools,” Pascua said.

The DepEd official said a school clinic would have the size of a normal classroom and cost an estimated P2.5 million each to build. If a school has an existing classroom that it wishes to covert into a clinic, the cost would be around P450,000, he said.

“So the total funds needed will vary between P15.27 billion and P84.83 billion. That will depend on the evaluation in the field,” Pascua pointed out.

The DepEd official noted that these figures do not include the costs for the actual furnishings or equipment to be used by the clinics. “This is only for the facility. What’s inside will definitely be more expensive,” he warned. 

“We support these bills especially during this time of the COVID-19 pandemic. We will be needing these clinics not only to store our equipment and emergency response kits but also to house our medical and nursing officers,” Pascua said.

PUBLIC SCHOOLS
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