Cebu News

Council backs bill creating OFW hospital

Mary Ruth R. Malinao - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines —  The Cebu City Council has expressed its support to the passage of Senate Bill 566 or “An Act Establishing Special Health Facilities for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and their Dependents to be known as Bagong Bayaning Filipino Hospital.”

The measure was filed by Senator Joel Villanueva under the 19th Congress.

Councilor Rey Gealon has sponsored the resolution supporting the bill. The city council has approved the move.

“Such policy is in consonance with this representation’s belief that OFWs are indeed Bagong Bayani because they have risked their lives to work abroad to support their family,” said Gealon.

SB 566 seeks to give priority to the millions of overseas workers and their dependents by establishing a hospital to be known as Bagong Bayaning Filipino Hospital.

“This bill also mandates the establishment of regional hospitals that will prioritize the needs of the OFWs and their dependents. This bill will also complement the newly constructed OFW Hospital in San Fernando City, Pampanga created by Executive Order No. 154, series of 2021, which opened in May 2022,” read the bill’s explanatory note.

Gealon said that another significant provision of the proposed measure provides that each of the hospitals to be established shall provide an express or priority lane for OFWs and their dependents.

With this, they shall be given priority in the assignment of hospital beds, without prejudice to the rules on emergency cases, as may be determined by the Department of Health (DOH) and the Hospital Administrator.

The councilor added that the proposed measure provides that the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) shall broaden the existing medical assistance given to duly registered OWWA members and their dependents, and as far as practicable, make their medical treatment free of charge.

Section 18 of Article II of the 1987 Constitution provides that the state shall protect the rights of workers and promote their welfare. — GAN (FREEMAN)

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