SENATOR and Chair of the Senate Committee on Health Christopher “Bong” Go emphasized the need to act swiftly when it comes to enhancing health services as he urged his fellow lawmakers not to allow further delays in the passage of local hospital bills which are aimed at improving and establishing public hospitals in different parts of the country.
“Obviously, our priorities, ito pong health problem po natin. Ang ayaw nating mangyari, maghihingalo ang mga kababayan natin na wala nang pupuntahan. Nasa pandemya po tayo,” Go told his fellow lawmakers during the Senate regular session on Thursday, May 20.
“Iba po ang kaso natin ngayon. Darating naman po siguro ang panahon na pagdedebatehan natin ‘yung share ng IRA (Internal Revenue Allotment), ng NaTA (National Tax Allotment). Pero ito, habulan tayo ng— buhay po ng bawat Pilipino ang nakataya rito,” he added.
During the Senate sessions on May 19 and 20, Go sponsored fifteen local hospital bills that aim to establish, re-nationalize, or enhance through increased bed capacity, among others local hospitals in various parts of the country.
“Nandiyan na po ‘yung hospitals na approved. Nandiyan na po ‘yung bills na aprubado ng Lower House, nasa kamay natin dito sa Senado. Bakit pa natin papatagalin pa? Kawawa naman ang mga Pilipino.” said Go.
“Dapat po tayong magkaisa para sa kapakanan ng mga Pilipino. Pinasa na po ito ng Lower House. Naghahanap tayo ng modular hospital. Ito po, pwede na tayong gumawa ng hospital. Pasado na po sa Lower House,” he added.
While being interpellated, Go described his experience of traveling to different parts of the country and witnessing the state of public healthcare in various regions.
“Huwag na po natin ipagkait sa Pilipino kung ano po ang para sa kanila ngayon. Kawawa po. Ako mismo, bumababa po ako. Alam ko po ‘yung sitwasyon,” he shared.
Go strongly appealed to fellow lawmakers not to deprive Filipinos the right to have quality healthcare during the pandemic, especially when the measures being deliberated have already passed the House of Representatives and are now pending Senate action.
“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. Paikut-ikot lang po ang usapan dito, Mr. President. Alam naman ng Pilipino ‘yan, paikut-ikot lang tayo dito. Sinasadya natin patagalin. Ibang usapan po ito ngayon,” Go said.
He also cited that the need to increase hospital bed capacity of most public hospitals has been a challenge during the public health crisis, prompting authorities to establish modular hospitals. He noted that while he welcomes the efforts of the Executive to augment bed capacities of health facilities, these are only temporary in nature. He highlighted the fact that the proposed upgrades stated in the proposed measures can be institutionalized if passed into law.
“Minadali natin ang pagtatayo ng modular hospitals. Pero pagkatapos ng pandemya, marahil mawawala na rin ang mga naitayong ito. Narito ang ang permanenteng solusyon sa problema. Aksyunan na natin,” he urged.
“Lalo na po sa mga probinsya na talagang kulang na kulang ang mga health facilities. Sa pag-iikot ko po sa iba’t ibang parte ng bansa, nakita ko po mismo ang kakulangan natin sa hospital beds at equipment. Minsan po ang mga pasyente sa hospital corridor na nakaratay. Kawawa po ang ating mga kababayan,” Go said.
Among the bills upgrading government health facilities sponsored by Go during the session include increasing the bed capacity of the Sinait District Hospital in Sinait, Ilocos Sur; lying-in clinic in Rizal, Palawan; the Naguilian District Hospital in La Union; the Rosario District Hospital in Rosario, La Union; the East Avenue Medical Center in Quezon City; and the Mayor Hilarion A. Ramiro Sr. Medical Center in Ozamiz City, Misamis Occidental.
He also sponsored bills 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; and upgrading the Benguet General Hospital.
Go also sponsored bills establishing more and improved government hospitals, such as the Eastern Pangasinan Regional Medical and Trauma Center, the Davao Occidental General Hospital, the Neptali Gonzales General Hospital in Mandaluyong City, and the Bacolod City General Hospital.