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Press Release - "Health equates to life itself and must remain a top priority for Filipinos," - Bong Go champions health sector reforms during Senate Health Hearing

Senator Christopher "Bong" Go, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, presided over the health committee's public hearing on Tuesday, April 2. Fellow Senator Raffy Tulfo also attended.

Senator Go outlined a series of urgent matters during his opening statement, underscoring the government's imperative role in enhancing the health sector's capabilities and refining healthcare services and infrastructure across the country to protect lives of Filipinos.

It can be recalled that the previous hearing on March 12 discussed the Medical Assistance for Indigent Patients (MAIP) program under the Department of Health (DOH), which saw a budget increase this year. The hearing also covered proposed legislative measures for local hospitals, updates on the Health Facilities Enhancement Program, the release of Health Emergency Allowance for healthcare workers, and staffing concerns at Malasakit Centers, among others.

At the forefront of the agenda were proposals to upgrade and establish public hospitals. These initiatives complement the Philippine Health Facility Development Plan, which seeks to prioritize and allocate funds effectively for the construction, repair, and rehabilitation of various public health facilities in collaboration with the DOH and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

"I fully support the intent and objectives of these local bills, but if we are to pass these, I reiterated the need to ascertain the commitment of the DBM and the Department of Health to implement and fund these local bills. Ayaw po natin na maging white elephant ito. Pasa-pasa tayo tapos di naman po magagamit, masasayang po," Go reaffirmed.

"Dapat siguraduhin na ang bawat ospital ay may sapat na pondo para sa pagpapatakbo at pagpapanatili sa mga ito. Hindi dapat ito maging white elephant o unfunded laws," he reiterated.

A significant highlight of the hearing was Senator Go's continuous appeal for the release of the Health Emergency Allowance (HEA) still overdue to healthcare workers, who were lauded as heroes during the global pandemic, saying, "Another aspect we shall look into is the welfare of our healthcare workers. Hindi lang health facilities ang importante