P4B set aside for specialty hospitals in regions

Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri (Facebook Photo)

By Dolly Yasaa

BACOLOD City – Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri revealed that an additional P2 billion has been added to the budget for the establishment of regional branches of specialty hospitals for heart, lung, and kidney, in line also with the implementation of the Universal Health Care (UHC) Act.

“That is why we are now prioritizing the passage of Negros Island Region (NIR) in order for the new region to have its specialty hospital for heart, lung, and kidney, and to avail of the funds already included in the 2023 budget,” Zubiri said.

Zubiri authored Senate Bill No. 80, or an act establishing regional branches of special hospitals such as the Philippine Heart Center, National Kidney and Transplant Institute, and Lung Center.

Meanwhile, Senator Juan Victor Ejercito, who is the principal author of UHC, said he is thankful to Zubiri for adding P2 billion more to the budget for the specialty hospitals in every region of the country, increasing the budget to P4 billion.

“Hopefully, with the passage of NIR, we can put up a regional specialty hospital in our place (Negros). We are very excited for next year, for the approval of NIR and for the regional specialty hospitals,” Zubiri further said.

Zubiri underscored the strengthening of medical services in provinces, noting that people have to go to Manila in order to have treatment in specialty hospitals.

He also said that the P4-billion budget for specialty hospitals in regions all over the country is part of the UHC, which provides free medication to all Filipinos.

“Instead of going to lung, heart, and kidney centers in Metro Manila, patients may now avail of such treatment in regional specialty hospitals,” Zubiri added.

As to safety nets that UHC will not be used as a political tool for some politicians, Ejercito explained that its rationale states that people will no longer troop to the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, PAGCOR, or any other government agencies to seek financial assistance since UHC has funds set aside for it.

That is why we created UHC in order to remove political patronage, he added.