Seven new laws to upgrade hospitals

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    BURIED in the news these past days — eclipsed by the Skyway construction accident that killed one motorcycle rider and injured several persons, the breakup of Derek Ramsay and Andrea Torres, and the controversial social media quips by the Robredo sisters–is the simple signing event in Malacañang on November 13 where President Duterte made seven enrolled bills into laws, involving the upgrade of as many hospitals in different parts of the country.

    First among these laws is one increasing the bed capacity, health services, and medical personnel of the Quirino Memorial Medical Center (QMMC) in Quezon City. Six other hospitals in the following places are beneficiaries of a systems upgrade: Camarines Sur, Surigao del Norte, Davao Occidental, Iloilo City, Las Piñas City, and Cagayan.

    Under Republic Act No. 11501, the bed capacity of the QMMC will be increased to 1,000 beds from 500 beds to reflect its hospital development plan. QMMC is among the scores of COVID-19 referral hospitals of the Department of Health.

    ‘First among these laws is one increasing the bed capacity, health services, and medical personnel of the Quirino Memorial Medical Center (QMMC) in Quezon City.’

    The new law states that the professional healthcare services and facilities of the QMMC will also be upgraded to conform with higher bed capacity, and its personnel beefed up.
    Other hospital laws signed by the President are the following:

    * Republic Act No. 11500 upgrades the Siargao District Hospital in Dapa, Surigao del Norte into a Siargao Island Medical Center, increases bed capacity from 50 to 100 beds, upgrades medical facilities and personnel.

    * Republic Act No. 11499 expands the Malita District Hospital in Malita, Davao Occidental and renames it Malita Women’s and Children’s Wellness Center. The center will provide speciality healthcare service on obstetrics and gynecology, prenatal, postnatal, and neonatal care, lactation programs, children’s immunization, other women and pediatric care and animal bite treatment.

    * Republic Act No. 11498 increases the bed capacity of the Cagayan Valley Medical Center in Tuguegarao City, Cagayan to 1,000 from 500 beds.

    * Republic Act No. 11497 increases the capacity of the Las Piñas General Hospital and Satellite Trauma Center in Las Piñas City to 500 from 200 beds.

    * Republic Act No. 11496 increases the bed capacity of the Western Visayas Medical Center in Mandurriao, Iloilo City to 700 from 425 beds.

    * Republic Act No. 11495 establishes the Bicol Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Pamplona, Camarines Sur with a 200-bed capacity. The hospital specializes in the care of women and children.

    While these hospital and medical care upgrades are the initial work of the congressmen in the above-mentioned districts, the contributions of the committee on health of the House of Representatives (Rep. Angelina “Helen” Tan of Quezon, chair) and the Senate (Sen. Christopher Go, chair) towards the passage of these new laws should be cited and appreciated.

    Congresswoman Tan of the 4th district of Quezon has been delivering her best performance in committee and plenary work that involves health, especially in this time of the COVID-19 pandemic. Worth mentioning is that she did that under the unlamented Alan Peter Cayetano leadership, which even fired her from the health committee despite her outstanding accomplishments, all because her NPC party is perceived to be supporting Rep. Lord Allan Velasco.

    Duterte’s new laws on hospitals and health care will go a long way in helping the nation achieve victory over the COVID-19 pandemic.