SENATE Committee on Health Chair Christopher “Bong” Go is working closely with the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) in Manila to restore its normal operations after part of the health facility caught fire on May 16.
In a radio interview, Go said he has already talked to PGH Director Dr. Gerardo Legaspi and discussed the assistance that the hospital would need following the fire over the weekend so that the hospital can resume its normal operations.
“Opo, nagkausap kaagad kami kahapon ni Dr. Legaspi at sabi ko nga, kung ano ang mga kailangan nilang maitulong natin ay tutulong kami. Kanina nga po ay pumunta ang aking mga staff, may dala nang konting tulong, mga pagkain po, food packs, vitamins, masks, face shields,” said Go on Monday, May 17.
“Ang importante dito makabalik sa normal ang operation ng PGH. Sabi ko kay Dr. Legaspi na kung ano man ang maitutulong ko ay tutulong kami ni Pangulong Duterte, lalo na po sa mga nasirang kagamitan, equipment nila,” Go said.
Go added he will seek help from President Rodrigo Duterte if additional funds are needed aside from the Health Facilities Enhancement Program of the Department of Health for the immediate procurement of the medical equipment and structures destroyed by the fire incident.
“Kung ‘di kayang pondohan po sa Health Facilities Enhancement, pwede nating ilapit kay Pangulong Duterte at mabili agad itong nasunog o nasirang medical equipment lalung lalo na po sa emergency room,” he said.
On May 18, Duterte ordered the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to immediately repair the damaged portion of the hospital using the President’s Social Fund. He also directed National Task Force Against COVID-19 chief implementer and vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. and deputy chief implementer and testing czar Vince Dizon to assess the situation and damage inflicted by the fire.
He said that there is a need to immediately rehabilitate the emergency room of the PGH, especially now that the country is facing a pandemic.
“Sa panahong ito, ‘di na makaantay ang mga gamit na ‘yan. Alam nating maraming COVID cases po na kine-cater ang PGH, napakalaking ospital nito at napakalaking tulong nito sa mga kababayan natin. Alam naman natin ang PGH, isa po ‘yan sa talagang napakarami rin pong espesyalista na doktor. Sa kampanya laban sa COVID-19, malaki ang ginagampanan ng PGH,” Go pointed out.
“Importante po, walang nasaktan. Alam naman natin sa ngayon, may COVID patients. Sabi po, nalipat sa Sta. Ana Hospital ang twelve na pasyente. Sabi ko, kung anong maitutulong namin, ‘wag silang mag-atubiling lumapit sa opisina,” he added.
Go also mentioned that he is willing to assist in providing a higher budget for the hospital next year to build back better what has been destroyed by the fire.
“Handa kaming tumugon agad sa karagdagang budget kung kakailanganin agad for next year, lalo na sa infrastructure na nasira. Ngayong taon na ito kung ano ang kailangang i-address agad ang mga equipment na kailangan handa tayong tumulong,” Go said.
Meanwhile, he assured that the Malasakit Center in the hospital, launched in 2018, remains fully operational to provide government medical and financial assistance to poor and indigent patients. There are currently 112 Malasakit Centers nationwide.
“Tuluy-tuloy naman po ito. Meron tayong Malasakit Center d’yan sa PGH. Matagal na pong bukas, 2018 hanggang ngayon, handang tumulong sa ating mga kababayan,” he said.
Go authored and sponsored the “Malasakit Centers Act of 2019”. Under the act, all hospitals managed by the DOH and the PGH are mandated to open their own Malasakit Center. Hospitals run by local government units and other public hospitals may also establish their own center provided that they meet a standard set of criteria and guarantee the sustainability of its operations.