Hos­pi­tal for OFWs, de­pen­dents pro­posed

Manila Bulletin - - National News - By MARIO B. CASAYURAN and FRED­DIE C. VELEZ

Se­na­tor Joel Vil­lanueva has filed a bill that seeks to cre­ate a spe­cial hos­pi­tal for over­seas Filipino work­ers (OFWs) and their de­pen­dents.

Un­der Se­nate Bill No. 1282, a spe­cial hos­pi­tal that will be known as Bagong Bayan­ing Filipino Hos­pi­tal (BBFH) will be es­tab­lished in the Na­tional Cap­i­tal Re­gion that will serve as the pri­mary med­i­cal fa­cil­ity for the hos­pi­tal­iza­tion, con­fine­ment and med­i­cal care of OFWs and their de­pen­dents.

"We want to rec­og­nize all the ef­forts and sac­ri­fices of our modern­day he­roes who have worked hard not only to pro­vide a bet­ter liv­ing for their fam­i­lies, but also for their con­tri­bu­tion to the na­tional econ­omy. The per­sonal re­mit­tances of our mi­grant work­ers strength­ened the ac­count po­si­tion of the coun­try, en­larged the mid­dle class and spawned mi­croen­ter­prises in the coun­try­side,” Vil­lanueva said.

“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 added.

Ac­cord­ing to the 2015 Sur­vey on Over­seas Filipinos (SOF), over­seas work­ers who worked abroad at any time dur­ing the pe­riod April 1 to Septem­ber 30, 2015 was es­ti­mated at 2.4 mil­lion.

The to­tal re­mit­tances sent by OFWs dur­ing this pe­riod was es­ti­mated at 1180.3 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,” Vil­lanueva said.

Un­der the bill, apart from the spe­cial hos­pi­tal that will be un­der the su­per­vi­sion and con­trol of the Over­seas Work­ers Wel­fare Ad­min­is­tra­tion (OWWA), re­gional hos­pi­tals are also man­dated 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 shall have an ini­tial ca­pac­ity of at least 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.

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