Villanueva bill seeks to create special hospital for OFWs
A bill, creating a special hospital for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and their dependents, has been filed in the Senate.
Senator Joel Villanueva said Senate Bill No. 1282, which he authored, seeks the establishment of a special hospital, which will be known as Bagong Bayaning Filipino Hospital (BBFH). The hospital, he said, would be established in the National Capital Region and would serve as the primary medical facility for the hospitalization, confinement, medical treatment and medical care of OFWs and their dependents.
“We want to recognize all the efforts and sacrifices of our modern-day heroes who have worked hard not only to provide a better living for their families, but also for their contribution to the national economy,” Villanueva said in a statement on Wednesday.
“The personal remittances of our migrant workers strengthened the account position of the country, enlarged the middle class and spawned micro-enterprises in the countryside. It would be nothing short of a noble deed for the government to take care of our OFWs by providing them quality healthcare services,” he said.
Villanueva pointed out that based on the 2015 Survey on Overseas Filipinos (SOF), the number of Filipinos who worked abroad from April 1 to September 30, 2015 was estimated at 2.4 million, while their total cash remittances during the same period was estimated at P180.3 billion.
“In spite of the growing number of migrant workers and the steady stream of remittance flows, social services, especially health care, remain out of reach for them and their dependents,” the senator lamented.
Apart from the special hospital, regional hospitals are also mandated under the bill to establish an overseas Filipino workers’ ward as the facility for the hospitalization and medical care of overseas Filipino workers and their dependents residing outside the National Capital Region. Each ward should have an initial capacity of at least fifty (50) beds.
“Other than the expansion of skills training and education benefits and on-site services, the government should also expand its medical assistance program for OFWs who are at risk of diseases and dreaded illnesses while on their job abroad,” said Villanueva.
After his recent consultation meeting with OFWs in Taiwan, the senator said he found out that four out of 10 repatriated OFWs need medical attention or hospital confinement. Many of them, he said, suffer from heart disease, stroke, pneumonia, cancer, kidney ailments and other illnesses requiring medical procedures and preventive and longtime care.
Villanueva said the existing package of services under the Medical Care Program for OFWs and their dependents, however, was only limited to “curative medical services.”
The senator then included in his bill that the services of the special hospital for OFWs should also complement the existing package of medical and health care services and benefits to migrant workers so as to include preventive, promotive, diagnostic, curative and rehabilitative programs.
“As bagong bayani, our OFWs deserve more benefits, especially, access to a complete and quality health care. The State policy to provide social services and adequate health care to OFWs rightly justifies a stronger thrust towards the establishment of a Bagong Bayaning Filipino Hospital in the country,” he further said. RAM
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