Bong Go

Bong Go: Senate taking up measures to expand healthcare access in the grassroots

March 19, 2022 People's Journal 153 views

SENATOR and Chair of the Senate Committee on Health Christopher “Bong” Go said the Senate continues to deliberate on several proposed measures that aim to improve the delivery of public healthcare services, especially in areas where the local communities are constrained by capacity and funds.

In an interview after a relief operation in San Isidro, Davao Oriental on March 16, Go assured that many hospital bills will be tackled in the coming weeks. The Senate had earlier approved on the third and final reading 15 local hospital bills sponsored by Go shortly before Congress adjourned its session from February 5 to May 22.

“Mayroon pong iba’t ibang mga health-related bills. Marami pang ihi-hear kami next week tulad ng mga local hospital bills. Iyong iba naman, iyong mga bagong (local government unit- at Department of Health-run) hospitals na isinulong ng Lower House, ite-take up namin ‘yan sa Senado,” said Go.

“Noong nakaraang budget deliberation, may isinulong ako na mga Super Health Centers. Parang mas malaki siya sa rural health units, about 500 square-meters na building… Para ito sa mga lugar na mga walang provincial hospital,” he added.

The lawmaker noted that the government currently has nearly PhP3.6 billion available funds in the 2022 Health Facilities Enhancement Program to construct 305 Super Health Centers. To expand access to affordable and comprehensive medical care, a Super Health Center will be constructed in every region across the country.

The center will offer various services, including laboratory and diagnostic care, pharmaceutical care, birthing units, out-patient services, vaccination services and dental services.

Go also reiterated his appeal for the passage of Senate Bill No. 2155, a measure he earlier filed for the establishment of the Virology Science and Technology Institute of the Philippines (VIP).

The goal of the VIP is to develop vaccines against life-threatening viruses. It will serve as the principal laboratory of the country in providing virology laboratory investigations, research, and technical coordination of the entire network of virology laboratories nationwide.

“Dapat handa tayo para hindi tayo mabigla dahil hindi naman natin masabi kung ito na ba ang huling pandemya na darating sa buhay natin. Mas mabuti na handa tayo. Eh, kung mas mabuti nga magkaroon tayo ng sarili nating bakuna para hindi tayo umaasa sa ibang bansa. Mas mabuti na ‘yun, ‘yung lagi tayong handa,” stressed Go.

The senator likewise reiterated his call on the Senate to pass SBN 2505 which will create the Philippine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The bill is the consolidated version of an earlier bill he authored and filed in 2021.

The CDC will be primarily responsible for protecting Filipinos from health threats. To accomplish this, the proposed Center will detect and respond to new and emerging health threats, conduct scientific research, and communicate critical health information to the public.

“Hindi ako titigil na ipaglaban ang mga batas na ito, lalung-lalo na makakatulong ito sa pag-improve ng ating healthcare system. The more we should invest sa healthcare natin ngayon. Huwag na nating antayin na mangyari sa atin ‘yung nabigla tayo ng COVID-19. Hindi na natin alam at hindi pa natin napaghandaan,” ended Go.

Senate Bill No. 2155 is currently pending in the Committee on Science and Technology while SBN 2505 is set for plenary deliberations.