Press Release
July 1, 2020

PRRD signs measure sponsored by Bong Go upgrading Bicol Medical Center to improve healthcare access for Bicolanos

Senator Christopher Lawrence "Bong" Go on Wednesday, July 1, commended President Rodrigo Duterte for signing into law one of his sponsored bills as Senate Committee Chair on Health and Demography. The enacted measure increases the bed capacity of Bicol Medical Center from 500 to 1,000 beds and upgrades its facilities and services in order to provide better medical and health care to Bicolanos.

"Inaprubahan na po ni Pangulong Duterte ang batas na naglalayong mas maisaayos ang Bicol Medical Center. Para po ito sa mga kababayan nating Bikolano," Go said.

"Bilang Senate Committee Chair on Health, patuloy po tayong nagtatrabaho upang mas i-angat pa ang kalidad ng ating mga pampublikong ospital sa kahit saang parte ng bansa lalo na ngayon na may hinaharap tayong pandemya," he added.

Go was referring to Republic Act No. 11478 or "An Act Increasing the Bed Capacity of Bicol Medical Center from 500 beds to 1,000 Beds, Upgrading its Service Facilities and Professional Health Care Services, Authorizing the Increase of its Medical Workforce Complement, Amending for the Purpose Republic Act 8053, and Appropriating Funds Therefor".

The newly enacted measure is expected to improve the delivery of quality medical and healthcare services in the Bicol region.

Since last week, this is the fourth similar health-related measure signed into law by the President. He recently signed into law three other local hospital bills, namely Republic Act 11472 which increases the bed capacity and upgrades the services of the Caraga Regional Hospital in Surigao City from 150 to 500 beds; RA 11473 upgrading the Talisay District Hospital in Talisay City, Cebu into a medical center to be known as the Cebu South Medical Center; and RA 11474 which also upgrades the Maria L. Eleazar District Hospital in Tagkawayan, Quezon province into a Level 3 general hospital to be known as the Maria L. Eleazar General Hospital.

"Sa bawat health-related bill na naipapasa natin at nagiging batas, buhay ng kababayan natin ang pwedeng mailigtas mula sa sakit," Go said in his previous statements.

Lamenting the current state of some public hospitals in the country, most of which have been overburdened because of the ongoing health crisis, Go said that it is one of his priorities as a legislator to enhance the capacities and capabilities of public health facilities in order to sufficiently cater to the medical needs of their communities.

"The country has a one-to-1,083 bed-to-population ratio. This is beyond the recommended ideal target ratio of one-to-1,000," Go cited, adding that the government needs an estimated additional 131,250 beds to reach its target.

"In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, enhancing our government hospitals to be able to provide quality, accessible and efficient healthcare services is so important now, more than ever," Go stated.

To streamline the process of upgrading public hospitals, Go filed SB 1226, or the proposed DOH Hospital Bed Capacity and Service Capability Rationalization Act, which aims to authorize the Department of Health to increase the bed capacity and service capability of its retained hospitals and to allow it to promulgate evaluation and approval guidelines.

"Tulungan natin ang DOH na maisaayos ang mga ospital nila para mas maibigay sa mga Pilipino ang nararapat na serbisyong medikal, lalo na sa oras ng pandemya tulad ngayon," Go said, as the bill seeks to streamline the process for approving changes in the authorized bed capacities and corresponding service capabilities of all DOH hospitals.

"Once we have well-equipped hospitals with increased bed capacities in the provinces, sufficient medical workers, and proper protocols in place for future health emergencies, we can assure Filipinos that a better and healthier life can be provided to them wherever they are in the country," he said.

Several other local hospital bills sponsored by Go are now pending approval on third reading in the Senate and shall be tackled once session resumes.

These include House Bill No. 2444, Providing for the Establishment of the Bicol Women's and Children's Hospital; HB 6218, Expanding the Services of the Malita District Hospital in Barangay Poblacion, Municipality of Malita, Province of Davao Occidental, Renaming it as the Malita Women's and Children's Wellness Center; HB 6035, Increasing the Bed Capacity of the Western Visayas Medical Center from 425 Beds to 700 Beds; HB 6365, Upgrading the Siargao District Hospital into a Level II General Hospital to be Known as the Siargao Island Medical Center; HB 6499, Increasing the Bed Capacity of the Quirino Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City from 500 Beds to 1,000 Beds; HB 6036, Increasing the Bed Capacity of the Las Piñas General Hospital and Satellite Trauma Center in Las Piñas City, from 200 Beds to 500 Beds and; HB 6144, Increasing the Bed Capacity of the Cagayan Valley Medical Center from 500 to 1,000 Beds.

"Bilang Chair ng Senate Committee on Health, patuloy po nating ipaglalaban na maging mas mabilis, maayos at maaasahan ang serbisyong medikal na ibinibigay ng ating gobyerno para sa lahat ng mga Pilipino, kahit saan mang parte ng bansa," Go said.

"Habang patuloy tayong lumalaban upang malampasan ang krisis na dulot ng COVID-19, magtulungan rin po tayo upang mabigyan ng mas magandang buhay ang ating mga kababayan. Let us all learn from this experience and be better prepared for any crisis that may come in the future," he added.

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