By Ernie Reyes
MANILA — Senator and Chair of the Senate Committee on Health Christopher “Bong” Go reaffirmed his commitment to ensure that all workers will have access to quality occupational health services as he hailed the significant contributions of occupational medicine physicians across the country in the fight against the pandemic.
In his video message for the 43rd Annual National Convention of the Philippine College of Occupational Medicine, Inc. (PCOM) on Tuesday, March 22, Go reiterated the importance of occupational medicine in preserving, protecting and promoting the health and safety of workers in all occupations, especially amid the pandemic.
“As we all know, occupational medicine deals with the assessment of workers’ health, working conditions and processes. The role and contribution of the occupational medicine physicians in the mitigation and control of COVID-19 should be given utmost importance and recognition in our country today,” said Go.
“I am committed to ensure that all workers should have access to occupational health for the prevention and management of diseases from the hazards of work… Importanteng masiguro ang kaligtasan ng ating mga manggagawa, kabilang na ang mga medical frontliners na araw-araw sumusuong para labanan ang virus,” he added.
On this note, the senator commended the PCOM for serving as the only medical specialty organization for occupational medicine physicians and specialists recognized by the Philippine Medical Association.
“It is with great pride, therefore, that I congratulate the Philippine College of Occupational Medicine and its national officers, board of directors, through the leadership of Dr. Phil Pangilinan, its President na Dabawenyo rin po,” remarked Go.
“Gusto ko rin pong pasalamatan ang iba pang kapwa Dabawenyo namin ni Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte na members ng PCOM. These are Dr. Elvie Donado, who takes care of wounded-in-action soldiers engaging with insurgents in Mindanao; Dr. Henry Derla, the pioneer of occupational medicine in Davao; and Davao City Councilor Dr. Mary Joselle Villafuerte,” he continued.
The senator then reassured that he continues to push for measures to make sure that all Filipino healthcare workers are well-supported.
“Sa Senado, naghain po ako ng panukalang batas para tuluy-tuloy ang pagbibigay ng allowances sa healthcare workers ngayong pandemya. Sa ilalim ng panukalang ito, mas maraming healthcare workers na ang makakatanggap. Wala na po itong pinipili. Pasado na po ito sa Senado at Kongreso kaya inaasahan po natin na pipirmahan po ito ni Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte,” he said.
Senate Bill No. 2421 or the proposed COVID-19 Benefits and Allowances for Health Workers Act of 2022 was primarily authored and co-sponsored by Go to provide public and private health workers continuous benefits and allowances in recognition of their dedication and sacrifices during the pandemic.
Finally, Go vowed to prioritize the well-being of all frontliners, saying, “Buo po ang suporta namin ni Pangulong Duterte sa inyo at sa lahat ng ating mga frontliners at mga healthcare workers. Ipagpatuloy lang po ninyo ang inyong serbisyo para sa ating bayan. Maraming salamat at mabuhay po kayong lahat!” (ai/mtvn)