A medical clinic for every school

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    `The congressmen did the math, and came up with variable totals of P15.27 billion and P84.83 billion to construct or establish medical clinics in all schools in the country.’

    THERE is a sad reality that came to the fore at a hearing in the House of Representatives about three bills that all seek to give students in public schools adequate medical care, even if only on a first-aid basis.

    The proposed legislative measures take on an even more important role in the field of education and public service, considering that the country is still being ravaged by the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 disease

    The Committee on Basic Education and Culture chaired by Pasig City lone district Rep. Roman Romulo intends to consolidate three House Bills — HB Nos. 821, 3228, and 4232 — that will institutionalize the establishment of clinics at public schools. Authors of the measures were Deputy Speaker and Pampanga 3rd district Rep. Aurelio Gonzales Jr., Manila 3rd district Rep. John Marvin Nieto, and Bohol 3rd district Rep. Kristine Alexie Tutor.

    Gonzales’ HB 821 is the proposed act requiring the establishment of a permanent clinic for every public and private school and appropriating funds therefor. Meanwhile, Nieto’s HB No. 3228 and Tutor’s HB No. 4232 are measures seeking the establishment of school health and safety offices in every public school in the country.

    During the hearing, Education Undersecretary for Administration Alain del Pascua told the lawmakers just how big the backlog was in the need for permanent clinics for schools.

    “Of the 47,013 schools nationwide, we only have clinics in about 28 percent of them. That’s about 13,081 public schools. So we really need to establish clinics in these schools,” Pascua said.

    According to him, a school clinic would have the size of a normal classroom and cost an estimated P2.5 million to build. An existing classroom to be converted into a clinic would cost around P450,000, he said.

    The congressmen did the math, and came up with variable totals of P15.27 billion and P84.83 billion to construct or establish medical clinics in all schools in the country. Pascua noted that these figures do not include the actual equipment and furnishings for a medical clinic need by the structures.

    If a substitute bill will be drafted to consolidate these measures, then approved by the committee headed by Romulo, it should merit the support of all congressmen if only for the measure’s good intention, which is to safeguard the health of all young Filipino students.

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