Go: Government should invest more in health care system

Paolo Romero - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The government needs to continue investing more in the country’s health care system and learn lessons from the lingering COVID-19 pandemic, Sen. Bong Go said.

“The more we invest in health care system, the better. We must be proactive. We should not be complacent. We were caught flat-footed with what happened. Who would have known?” Go said in Filipino in an interview after distributing assistance to LGBT Coalition members in Davao City on Saturday.

He underscored the importance of providing sufficient funds for the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) given its crucial role in fighting the pandemic.

RITM is the main research arm of the Department of Health for prevention and control of infectious and tropical diseases. It was the first and, for a time, only COVID-19 testing facility in the country.

Go shared how he fought for the budget of the institute during past deliberations in the Senate.

“I opposed the budget cut, and actually increased it. Maybe it was intuition that told me that we should not neglect RITM,” he said.

He also called for the improvement of the country’s public hospitals, proposing the establishment of “super hospitals” in every region in the country.

Go said the Senate will further study House Bill 10392, which seeks to mandate local government units to earmark at least 15 percent of their share in national taxes for health services.

If passed into law, the bill will amend Section 287 of the Local Government Code and require LGUs to appropriate in its annual budget no less than 15 percent of its annual national tax allotment for health services.

Go said he would continue to fight for policies that improve access of Filipinos to health care services and promote the rights of health workers.

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