Go wants to build “super hospitals” in every region as investment in PH’s healthcare system

Go wants to build “super hospitals” in every region as investment in PH’s healthcare system

By Ernie Reyes

MANILA — Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go emphasized the need for the government to continue investing more in the country’s healthcare system and learn its lessons from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“The more we invest sa ating healthcare system, the better. Dapat po ay maging proactive po tayo. Huwag na tayong maging kumpiyansa. Noong nangyari sa atin, nabigla tayo. Sino bang mag-aakala?” said Go in an ambush interview after distributing assistance to LGBT Coalition Members in Davao City recently.

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

RITM is the main research arm of the Department of Health for prevention and control of infectious and tropical diseases in the Philippines. It was the first, and for a time, the sole COVID-19 testing facility in the country. Thus, the lawmaker shared how he fought for the budget of the institute during the past deliberations in the Senate.

“Alam mo, ikwento ko lang po sa inyo itong RITM. Ito pong ahensyang ito ng DOH iyon pa ang unang babawasan nila ng pondo noong 2020. Nagkaroon kami ng hearing noong 2019, iyon pa ang binawasan,” said Go.

“Hindi mo akalain ang RITM ang pinakaunang division… o opisina ng DOH na mangunguna sa testing. Iyon pa ang una nilang planong bawasan. Hindi ako pumayag, dinagdagan ko pa. Binalik ko pa, siguro kutob ko lang noong panahong ito na dapat ‘wag pabayaan ‘yung RITM,” he added.

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

“Mag-invest tayo sa mga hospital–pagandahin natin. Ako po, ang plano ko po sana’y magkaroon tayo ng ala-SPMC (Southern Philippines Medical Center), ala-PGH (Philippine General Hospital) sa bawat rehiyon,” said Go.

“Kung maaari po magkaroon tayo ng super center na complete parang mega regional hospital in each region. Halimbawa, Metro Manila kung may PGH na maganda, kumpleto nandiyan ang pasilidad lahat–operasyon, heart, lahat kumpleto,” he added.

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

“Pag-aralan natin ito sa Senado, as a legislator, itong devolved function ng kalusugan kung saan LGUs ang primarily in-charge in their respective jurisdictions (when it comes to key public services). Iyan po ang mandato ng Local Government Code,” said Go.

“Pag-aralan natin kung mayro’ng legal implications ang batas na ito requiring the LGUs to allocate a very specific portion ng annual national tax allotment share for health services. Pag-aralan po muna natin nang mabuti,” he added.

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% of its annual national tax allotment for health services.

Amid the public health concerns, Go said that he will continue to fight for policies that improve access of Filipinos to healthcare services and promote the rights of healthcare workers.

“Now, the more we should invest sa ating healthcare system. The more na dagdagan natin ng pondo. The more na mag-allocate tayo bilang senador ninyo,” said Go.

“Ako po ipaglalaban ko po lalung-lalo na po ‘pag kapakanan ng ating mga healthcare workers, mga frontliners–ibigay natin sa kanila ang dapat para sa kanila. Huwag natin silang pahirapan,” he stressed.

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