‘Learn from COVID-19 experience, continuous efforts to strengthen healthcare system must be pursued’ —Go says

‘Learn from COVID-19 experience, continuous efforts to strengthen healthcare system must be pursued’ —Go says

By Ernie Reyes

MANILA — Noting how the pandemic was an eye-opener on the gaps in the country’s healthcare system, Chair of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography Senator Christopher “Bong” Go reiterated the importance of strengthening further the quality of medical services in the country.

“Alam naman po natin kung gaano kahalaga ang pagbibigay ng importansya sa ating healthcare service. Lalo na po at nasa gitna tayo ng krisis, lalo po natin napagtanto na sobrang dami pong kailangan ayusin para maging maayos ang pagbibigay ng serbisyo sa ating mga mamamayan na may sakit,” observed Go.

“Kaya naman sisiguraduhin ko po na aking ipaglalaban ang lahat ng mga inisyatibo para mapaunlad at mapatatag pa lalo ang ating healthcare services sa bansa. Kailangan po talaga mag-invest tayo dahil bawat buhay ng Pilipino ay importante,” he stressed.

The senator renewed his call to his fellow lawmakers to continue supporting measures that would upgrade existing and establish new hospitals in the country.

“Talo po ako sa debate sa ibang senador diyan, sa mga beterano. Pero sabi ko, kahit tumayo tayo rito ng isang linggo magdebate man tayo… hindi pa rin ako titigil dahil alam ko po ‘yung ipinaglalaban natin dito ‘yung mga mahihirap lalung-lalo na po ‘yung mga (pumupunta sa) government hospitals,” the senator said.

“Ngayon po, kahit na bumababa na ang kaso ng COVID-19 ay kailangan pa rin po natin tutukan ang ating mga health facilities dahil ayaw naman po natin na bumalik sa napupuno na naman po ang mga hospital at hindi natin nabibigyan ng magandang serbisyo ang ating mga kababayan,” he added.

With Go at the helm, the Senate Committee on Health has earlier facilitated the passage of 24 laws upgrading the existing and establishing new public hospitals across the country.

On April 19, President Rodrigo Duterte signed into law four local hospital bills for Tayabas City, Quezon; Calbayog City, Samar; Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija; and Candon City, Ilocos Sur.

More recently, the President signed 11 new hospital bills, which were also sponsored by Go, to establish hospitals or improve existing ones in Abulug, Cagayan; Bocaue, Bulacan; Villanueva, Misamis Oriental; Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao; Cagayan de Oro City; Cebu City; Daraga, Albay; Jolo, Sulu; Santa Barbara, Iloilo; San Fernando City, La Union; and Barotac Nuevo, Iloilo.

“Ngayon po na may nababalitaan na naman tayo na panibagong COVID-19 variant, mas mainam na palakasin natin ang ating healthcare system. Bago pa man ang pandemya, kulang na po ang mga kama sa mga pampublikong ospital,” stressed Go.

“Kailangan din nating palakasin pa ito dahil hindi natin alam kung ilang pandemya pa ang darating. Huwag po nating hintayin na tuluyan nang bumigay ang healthcare system natin at malagay sa panganib ang buhay ng ating mga kababayan,” he added.

Go has also filed Senate Bill No. 2158 which establishes the Philippine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC shall serve as the lead agency for developing communicable disease control and prevention initiatives. It will be primarily responsible for controlling the introduction and spread of infectious diseases in the Philippines.

He likewise filed SB 2155 which establishes the Virology Science and Technology Institute of the Philippines (VIP). The institute shall serve as the country’s principal laboratory for virology research, laboratory investigations, and technical coordination of the nationwide network of virology laboratories.

Another notable measure that Go primarily authored and sponsored is the Malasakit Centers Act of 2019, which mandates all hospitals administered and managed by the DOH, plus the Philippine General Hospital, to establish their own Malasakit Centers to provide convenient access to medical assistance programs by the government.

On Labor Day, May 1, the senator joined President Duterte to personally inspect the first-ever Overseas Filipino Workers Hospital in San Fernando City and attend the groundbreaking for the Pampanga Provincial Hospital-Clark in Mabalacat City, both in the province of Pampanga.

Meanwhile, Go and Duterte led the inauguration of the new Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital on May 4 in Manila City.

“Asahan niyo po na ako na ako po ang magiging kasangga niyo sa Senado. Kahit gaano po kahirap, patuloy ko pong ipaglalaban ang pagdadagdag ng bed capacities at pagtatatag ng mga bagong pampublikong ospital dahil ito po talaga ang kailangan ng ating bansa,” vowed Go. (ai/mtvn)

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