SEN. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go pushed for the strengthening of the country’s health care system as the Senate scrutinized the proposed 2023 budget of the Department of Health (DoH) on Monday, October 3.
During the hearing, Go, who chairs the Committee on Health and Demography, reiterated his call for increased health care funding, saying that the DoH’s budget is important for the country’s recovery from the pandemic.
For one, Go said there is a need to capacitate and properly compensate the health workers to strengthen the country’s health care capacity.
“They have been our frontliners in our Covid-19 response,” he said.
Go said that the government must ensure funding for the allowances included in Republic Act 11712, or the “Public Health Emergency Benefits and Allowances for Health Care Workers.” He noted that the DoH has allotted a budget of P19.9 billion, which can cover the benefits for three months.
“We must find a way to provide enough funding for this. We must also ensure funding for the health workers hired due to the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.
Go stressed the need to upgrade public hospitals, especially as indigent patients rely on them.
Additionally, the senator said that adequate funding must be set aside for the upgrade and establishment of new public hospitals, such as the Joni Villanueva General Hospital in Bocaue, Bulacan.
Go said that his committee, during the previous Congress, passed 69 laws providing for the improvement and establishment of various public hospitals all over the country.
He also sought enough funding for the Health Facilities Enhancement Program and the continued funding for Super Health Centers, which he pushed in this year’s budget.
He emphasized the critical role Super Health Centers play in filling the gap in areas where hospitals are lacking.
During the hearing, Go also noted the increase in the subsidy given to state insurer PhilHealth for its benefits improvement.
As for the fight against cancer, he noted that extra funding was allocated in 2022 for assistance to cancer patients and suggested the same in next year’s budget.
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