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Go urges quick action on bills to upgrade public hospitals, build new ones

/ 02:26 AM May 25, 2021
Christopher Go

Sen. Christopher Go (Photo from his office)

MANILA, Philippines — “Now is the time to act,” Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go said on Thursday, May 20, in his sponsorship speech of 15 bills proposing the upgrading of certain public hospitals, the renationalizing of some, and the construction of new ones to improve the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

To further drive home the urgency of his call, Go issued a statement on Tuesday summarizing the key points of that speech and the one he delivered a day before, on Wednesday, on the same bills.

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“We are in the middle of a pandemic,” he stressed, speaking in Filipino, in his Thursday speech.

“The bills approved by the lower house are already here, in our hands here at the Senate. Why should we prolong their approval? Filipinos are in a pitiable situation,” he said.

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While being interpellated, he said he had seen in his travels around the country the sad state of health facilities, which would have to be improved.

“In this crucial time, we need these facilities. We need these upgrades. The local government units are asking for assistance because they cannot take on these burdens,” he said.

“We’re just going around in circles in our discussion here, Mr. President,” he added, addressing Senate President Vicente Sotto III. “Filipinos know it: We’re just going around in circles. We’re deliberately slowing it down. We’re facing a different issue now.”

He pointed out that increasing the bed capacity of most public hospitals had been a challenge during the pandemic, prompting authorities to establish modular hospitals. But said these were only temporary.

“We rushed the construction of modular hospitals. But once the pandemic ends, they may be gone. Here’s the permanent solution to the problem. Let’s act on it,” he said.

Go acknowledged that there would a need to determine the policy direction of the national government on the issue of devolving its health-related functions to local government units.

But he said: “We cannot just pass on the cudgels to LGUs at this time, especially amid an ongoing pandemic when resources are already scarce. The national government must step in.”

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Go, who chairs the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, emphasized that Filipino families should be able to easily access health care services even in rural areas.

Among the bills that Go sponsored on Monday were those increasing the bed capacity of the following hospitals:

  • Sinait District Hospital in Sinait, Ilocos Sur
  • a lying-in clinic in Rizal, Palawan
  • Naguilian District Hospital in La Union
  • Rosario District Hospital in Rosario, La Union
  • East Avenue Medical Center in Quezon City
  • Mayor Hilarion A. Ramiro Sr. Medical Center in Ozamiz City, Misamis Occidental

Other bills he sponsored bills proposed the following changes in some facilities:

  • converting the Schistosomiasis Control and Research Hospital in Palo, Leyte, into the Governor Benjamin T. Romualdez General Hospital and Schistosomiasis Center and increase its bed capacity
  • renaming the Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center in Tacloban City into Eastern Visayas Medical Center and increasing its bed capacity
  • converting the Medina Extension Hospital in Medina, Misamis Oriental into a general hospital
  • upgrading the Lanao del Norte Provincial Hospital into the Lanao del Norte Regional Medical Center
  • upgrading the Benguet General Hospital

Go also sponsored bills establishing more and improved government hospitals, such as the following:

  • Eastern Pangasinan Regional Medical and Trauma Center
  • Davao Occidental General Hospital
  • Neptali Gonzales General Hospital in Mandaluyong
  • Bacolod City General Hospital
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