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LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – The House Committee on health favorably recommended the submission for plenary debates of House Bill (HB) 6171 that seeks to re-nationalize the Benguet General Hospital (BeGH), placing it under the direct supervision and control of the Department of Health (DOH), increasing its bed capacity to 400, and appropriating funds for its sustainable operation.
Benguet Caretaker Congressman and Anti-Crime and Terrorism through Community Involvement and Support (ACT-CIS) Party-list Rep. Eric Go Yap said the House Committee is expected to calendar the said bill, together with other similar bills, for plenary debates and for eventual approval for it to be passed anytime during the present Congress and help further improve the delivery of basic health care services not only in the province but also for patients coming from other provinces wanting to seek medical attention from the said facility.
Yap filed the aforesaid bill right after being appointed by House Speaker Allan Peter Cayetano as the province’s legislative caretaker last January 20, 2020 following the untimely demise of the late Rep. Nestor B. Fongwan, Sr. who reportedly succumbed to a lingering illness last December 18, 2019.
The lawmaker said the bill that seeks the re-nationalization of BeGH is one of the bills that he authored which was immediately acted upon by the House committee where it was referred.
Earlier, the provincial board passed Resolution No. 2020-417 that supported the passage of HB 6171 because the hospital is faced with limited resources to maintain the existing facilities, old equipment that are beyond repair and need upgrade, and limited services leading to patients being referred to other health providers outside the province.
Among the other reasons that prompted the provincial government to support the re-nationalization of the hospital include the losses incurred due to the alleged non-operational medical equipment, lack of personnel because of reported inadequate financial resources to fund repair or purchase, and additional hiring of health workers.
Congressman Yap underscored that the re-nationalization of the BeGH will substantially contribute to the revolving role of the hospital to the universal health care by having an optimum clinical performance in case management through incentive mechanism; improvement quality of patient care with a good working environment and access provision to quality health care facilities and health promotion incentives.
According to him, once the BeGH will be under the direct supervisor of the DOH, the same could provide the facilities, full salaries and benefits of officials and employees and with the facilities, and with salaries of employees would eventually translate to much improved health care services.
In 1969, BeGH was established by virtue of Republic Act (RA) 5955 that jump started its operation with a 25-bed capacity and later increased to 50 beds.
The management, control and supervision of the hospital, including the 5 district hospitals located in the province, was eventually devolved to the provincial government in 1993 following the implementation of Republic Act (RA) 7160 or the Local Government Code of the Philippines.
Photo by: ARMANDO BOLISLIS