Go pushes proposals for new DOH-run hospitals

Cecille Suerte Felipe - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Bong Go is pushing for measures establishing new hospitals under the Department of Health (DOH) to further improve the country’s health care system.

Go, chairman of the Senate committee on health, stressed the importance of building public hospitals, especially in the countryside, citing the COVID-19 pandemic which forced the country to acknowledge the need to improve its health delivery system.

“In this pandemic, we have seen how important investment is in health. We are struggling today because we have not paid attention to it in recent decades. So now, our hospitals, beds and equipment to fight the pandemic are lacking,” he said.

“We need to strengthen it because we don’t know how many more pandemics will come. Let us not wait for our health care system to give up completely and endanger the lives of our countrymen,” he added.

Under Go’s sponsored measures, the new DOH hospitals to be established are Ilocos Sur Medical Center, Samar Island Medical Center in Western Samar, Southern Luzon Multispecialty Medical Center in Quezon province, Northwestern Cagayan General Hospital in Cagayan, Joni Villanueva General Hospital in Bulacan and Northeastern Misamis General Hospital in Misamis Oriental.

The lawmaker pointed out that establishing hospitals run by the national government should not be treated as a burden but an investment, noting that “if the local government unit (LGU) doesn’t do that, the national government will take part in that problem.”

He added that the national government must pursue initiatives to establish these much-needed hospitals as they are critical in aiding more Filipinos.

“Now, we have learned and we should not wait for LGUs to build their own hospitals because, first, two or more provinces will benefit from it. To be clear, these are not just district hospitals, these are medical centers and general hospitals,” Go said.

He noted that despite the increase in the tax allocation of LGUs this year, this might still not be enough for them to establish their own hospitals.

He stressed that some LGUs might choose not to prioritize the improvement of their health care system.

“Even if the tax allocation of LGUs increases starting this year, it may not be enough to build and operate a tertiary hospital,” said Go. “Even though the tax share of LGUs has increased, we do not hold the priority of LGUs. We cannot dictate where they will allocate the funds. In other LGUs, this increase is still insufficient for their health care services.”

As for funding, Go said most of the hospitals already have funding for the initial construction from previous years and all have lots ready to be donated to the DOH.

He explained that under the 2022 Unprogrammed Appropriations, the government has P4 billion for Health Facilities Enhancement Program and P9.2 billion for operation of DOH hospitals in the regions.

Go noted that according to the DOH, regulatory requirements for the establishment of all the hospitals in consideration have been met.

“We need the support of our countrymen. We cannot leave those in need,” he said. “It is for these reasons, Mr. President, that I ask your support for the passage of these measures.”



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