SENATOR Christopher “Bong” Go, Chair of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, has introduced a legislative bill seeking to increase the bed capacity of the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) from its current 1,500 beds to a total of 2,200 beds as part of his efforts aimed at strengthening the country’s healthcare infrastructure especially in catering to underprivileged patients.
Filed by Go on Wednesday, February 7, Senate Bill No. 2539 responds to the growing demand for medical services and aims to ensure that more Filipinos have access to quality healthcare. More importantly, it highlights the crucial role of the Philippine General Hospital as a premier public health facility in the country.
Go cited that the Philippine General Hospital is considered as the country’s largest government tertiary hospital and has been at the forefront of providing medical care to thousands of Filipinos, especially those from underprivileged backgrounds. However, with the increasing population and the rising incidence of various health conditions, the current facilities have been stretched to their limits, often resulting in overcrowded wards and prolonged patient waiting times.
“Ang kalusugan ay isang mahalagang aspeto na hindi dapat pinapabayaan. Sa pag-file ko ng bill na naglalayong dagdagan ang kapasidad ng higaan sa PGH mula 1,500 patungong 2,200, layunin natin na masiguro na mas maraming Pilipino ang makakatanggap ng de-kalidad na serbisyong medikal,” expressed Go.
“Napakalaking bahagi ng serbisyong pangkalusugan ng gobyerno ang mula sa PGH. It is about time we exert more efforts to help the hospital respond to the growing needs of Filipinos,” he added.
Senator Go’s bill proposes an expansion in the number of beds and includes provisions for appropriating necessary funds to support the expansion project. This financial allocation is expected to cover the costs associated with constructing additional wards and facilities, procuring medical equipment, and hiring additional medical personnel to cater to the increased capacity.
“Madalas nagiging unang puntahan ang PGH ng mga kababayan nating nagkakasakit na hindi kayang magpagamot sa pribadong ospital. Hindi dapat maging hadlang ang kakulangan ng kagamitan o espasyo sa pagbibigay ng kinakailangang medikal na atensyon sa ating mga kababayan na nangangailangan nito,” he cited.
The senator emphasized the importance of this initiative, stating, “Expanding the PGH’s capacity is crucial in our continuous fight against diseases and in providing comprehensive medical care to our people. This bill aims to ensure that every Filipino has access to quality medical services regardless of their financial status.”
The proposed expansion is anticipated to alleviate the congestion in the hospital significantly, reduce waiting times for patients, and enhance the overall quality of healthcare services provided by PGH.
“Hinihikayat ko ang aking mga kasamahan sa Senado at sa iba pang sektor na suportahan ang panukalang batas na ito. Sa pagtutulungan, maipapakita natin ang ating malasakit sa kapwa at mas mapapalakas pa natin ang ating healthcare system para sa ikabubuti ng bawat Pilipino,” Go urged. PGH has been a consistent recipient of support from the government, particularly during the tenure of former President Rodrigo Duterte. Under Duterte’s administration, initiatives were launched to increase the funds available for medical assistance, thereby allowing PGH to cater to the health needs of more Filipinos, particularly the underprivileged.
Meanwhile, as part of his advocacy to bring the government closer to Filipinos, Go, dubbed as Mr. Malasakit for his compassion for the poor, mentioned that there is a Malasakit Center inside PGH, where particularly poor indigents may seek medical-related assistance from concerned agencies.
Republic Act No. 11463, or the Malasakit Centers Act of 2019, was principally authored and sponsored by Go. According to the Department of Health, the 159 Malasakit Centers established nationwide already helped around ten million Filipinos.
Other Malasakit Centers in Manila City are located at Tondo Medical Hospital, Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital, Jose R. Reyes Memorial Medical Hospital, and San Lazaro Hospital.