Sen. Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito has vowed on to continue the support for the development of the regional hospital based here in Bohol as he inspected the hospital facilities in the city and the future site of the hospital expansion in another town.
He said he has been working for the passage of his pet bill that will ultimately provide universal health care to Filipinos
Hospital officials led by Dr. Mutya Kismet Tirol-Macuno, chief of hospital, gave a short presentation on the developments of the hospital.
The chief of hospital gave updates about the hospital’s progress and challenges during the short presentation, after which, the senator toured the hospital.
During his inspection, the senator noted the over capacity of the hospital. He went from room to room during his hospital visit.
The senator sees an urgent need to expand so that patients will not be placed along the corridors or aisles.
He sees a better delivery of health services in the province in “three to four years” with the completion of the Cortes complex of the Gallares Hospital
He added the expansion will be “very good for the province” in terms of providing health care to the Boholanos.
He then went to Cortes town to inspect the future site of the medical facility’s expansion site, which also house other wellness centers.
Ejercito was briefed about the project by Provincial Administrator Alfonso “Ae” Damalerio II and Cortes town mayor Iven Lynn Lim.
Cortes town is about 30 minutes west of Tagbilaran City.
He was pleased with the briefer given to him by Damalerio and Lim. He saw how expansive the lot is and the plans will surely improve the health services provision in the province.
The senator authored Senate Bill No. 1768, the counterpart bill in the Senate, which expands the bed capacity of GCGMH from 225 beds to 525 beds.
Bohol’s first district representative Rene Relampagos is the author of the GCGHH bed expansion in the Lower House.
The P2.2-billion budget for the modernization of the GCGMH has been recently approved, allowing the medical facility to become a specialty medical center.
Recently, the has been finally the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), Department of Health (DOH) and National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) approved with the signing of its crucial Multi-Year Obligational Authority (MYOA).
DBM Sec. Benjamin Diokno signed the MYOA following the strong endorsements from DOH Sec. Francisco Doque and NEDA Sec. Ernesto Pernia.
The existing main hospital located in Tagbilaran City will continue to operate with its new P500 million building, which construction is progressing, while its major extension for specialized services will rise on a provincial property in Cortes.
The MYOA is a document issued by the DBM either for locally-funded or foreign-assisted projects implemented by agencies (in this case the DOH)to authorize the latter to enter into multi-year contracts for the full project.
It is a guaranty of yearly allocations in the annual National Expenditure Program (NEP) or General Appropriations Act (GAA) until the project is fully completed.
The project had passed through separate scrutiny by the Provincial Development Council (PDC), Regional Development Council (RDC), NEDA Investment Coordination Committee (ICC) and, ultimately, NEDA Board during its first meeting under Pres. Rodrigo Duterte.
FORGING A UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE FOR THE FILIPINO
Universal health care program is something that the senator is working on as it will benefit the majority of Filipinos.
The senator is the chairperson of Senate’s Committee on Health and Demography.
Ejercito has been touring the Philippines doing public consultations on the universal health care.
The senator said there is a need to improve the Philipine Health Insurance (Philhealth) coverage of Filipinos, which stand at 91 percent or about 93 million, as of 2016.
The bill seeks the inclusion of preventive, pro-active and rehabilitative health services, on top to what Philhealth is currently providing to its members.
Ejercito during a chance interview at the Gallares Hospital as he made a quick tour, said he has been busy pushing for the grand health plan, to include more Filipinos into the fold of the Philhealth.
The bill seeks to improve health benefits for both outpatient and inpatient care shall include medicines, diagnostic studies, vaccinations and geriatric care; while outpatient care includes personal preventive services, prescription drugs, and biological and post-outpatient surgical home and rehabilitation services.
After his inspection in Cortes, the senator then went to Balilihan town to lead the groundbreaking ceremonies for the P 20-milion eight-storey building and the P20-million multi-purpose hall to be built inside the Balilihan campus of Bohol Island State University (BISU).
Prior to his visit to BISU-Balilihan, Ejercito was the guest speaker during the commencement exercises in Bilar and Candijay campuses.
In his speeches, Ejercito highlighted the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act or RA 10931.
This law grants free tuition for students who enroll in state colleges and universities.
He told the students he welcomed the approval of the implementing rules and regulations of the law by the Commission on Higher Education.
“My fervent wish to have at least one (college) graduate in every family is about to be realized,” said the senator in a post on Facebook in relation to his speaking engagement in BISU-Tagbilaran.
The senator encouraged the graduates in BISU-Bilar to be “transformational leaders” and “take the cudgel in effecting change”.
Ejercito said the youth must have the right values and strong vision, to build a better Philippines, in the face of ever-growing problems and challenges.