By Ernie Reyes
MANILA — Senator and Senate Health and Demography Committee chairman Christopher “Bong” Go reaffirmed his commitment to provide better health protection services for Filipinos especially migrant workers who are considered this country’s modern day heroes.
On Labor Day, May 1, Go joined President Rodrigo Duterte in the inspection of the first-ever Overseas Filipino Workers Hospital in San Fernando City, Pampanga.
They were also joined by other government officials, including former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, and Department of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III.
While conducting the inspection, the President was guided and briefed by Department of Labor and Employment Secretary Silvestre Bello III, Philippine General Hospital Director Gerardo Legaspi, and OFW Hospital Administrator Dr. Jose Dante Dator.
“Today, we are witnessing the inspection of the OFW Hospital which will be one of the legacies of the Duterte Administration that would guarantee quality healthcare to our modern-day heroes – our overseas Filipino workers,” remarked Go in his video message played during the pre-program of the event.
“The OFW Hospital is a fulfilled promise that serves as a testament to how much President Rodrigo Duterte and I value the sacrifices and contributions of our beloved OFWs,” he added.
The 1.5-hectare hospital was donated by the provincial government of Pampanga and is set to start its operations as a polyclinic on May 2, with full operations expected by the end of June. It is a six-story facility with a 100-bed capacity that will serve OFWs and their qualified dependents.
Apart from medical care, the facility will likewise carry out research on the prevention, care and treatment of occupational diseases that are common among OFWs as well as provision of specialized training for health workers on the implementation of OFW-specific occupational health services.
Go then reassured that the OFW hospital would prioritize the welfare of the nation’s modern-day heroes, underscoring that OFWs should be able to receive top-level health services.
“Alam natin ang sitwasyon na pinagdaanan ng ating OFWs. Hindi po nababayaran ang lungkot, lalung-lalo na po kung napapalayo sa mga mahal sa buhay para lang may pangtustos sa gastusin ng pamilya at mabigyan ng mas magandang kinabukasan ang mga anak,” Go said.
“Kaya mahalaga ang OFW Hospital na ito dahil sinusuklian natin kahit papaano ang sakripisyo nila sa pamamagitan ng mas maayos at magandang serbisyong pangkalusugan na para sa kanila at sa kanilang mga pamilya. Hindi dagdag na problema ang dapat ibigay sa kanila, kundi mabilis, maayos, at maaasahang serbisyo na may tunay na malasakit,” he stressed.
A firm advocate of the rights of Filipino migrant workers, Go also authored and co-sponsored Republic Act No. 11461 which provides for the creation of the Department of Migrant Workers.
As one of the priority legislative measures of the Duterte Administration, the DMW will serve as the lead agency for ensuring the protection, promotion of interests, timely resolution of problems, and effective reintegration of Filipino migrant workers.
Furthermore, RA 11461 provides for the establishment of the Management Information System which will serve as a registry of all Filipino migrant workers, a 24/7 Emergency Response and Action Center Unit, and a media and social media monitoring center to respond to their emergency needs.
“Talagang malapit sa puso namin ng Pangulo ang ating OFWs. Sa katunayan nga po, sa ilalim ng Administrasyong Duterte, naisakatuparan na ang pagsasabatas ng Department of Migrant Workers na akin ding isinulong sa Senado as author and co-sponsor,” shared Go.
“Ngayon, hindi na kailangang pagpasa-pasahan pa ang mga OFWs dahil may iisang ahensya na lamang na nakatutok sa kanilang mga hinaing,” he added.
Concluding his message, Go expressed his gratitude to the partnered agencies who put their best foot forward in ensuring the establishment of the hospital, including DOLE, DOH, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, and Bloomberry Cultural Foundation, Inc.
“I also want to congratulate everyone who has envisioned and worked tirelessly to achieve this legacy of the Duterte Administration for the OFWs and their families,” Go expressed.
“Dahil sa inyong ipinamalas na dedikasyon at pagmamalasakit sa ating mga OFWs, naisakatuparan ang isa sa mga pangako ni Pangulong Duterte na siguradong makapagbibigay ng karagdagang kaginhawaan para sa ating mga kababayan. Mabuhay ang OFW Hospital. Mabuhay ang mga bayaning OFWs!” he ended. (ai/mtvn)