MANKAYAN, Benguet – Benguet caretaker congressman and Anti-Crime and Terrorism through Community Involvement and Support (ACT-CIS) Party-list Rep. Eric Yap called on members of the Senate to listen to the plight of the people in the countryside for the delivery of quality health care services by immediately passing pending bills that seek tore-nationalize the Benguet General Hospital (BeGH) and other similarly situated hospitals in the country.
Last Thursday, House Bill (HB) No. 6849 along with other local health bills was sponsored by Senator Christopher Lawrence ‘Bong’ Go, chairman of the Senate committee on health and demography, for approval on second reading.
However, the said measures were not approved during that time because of issues being raised by Senate Minority Floor Leader Senator Franklin M. Drilon.
“It is very disappointing and heartbreaking. I went to Benguet General Hospital this morning for a test and our health care workers were asking me if there was a chance for the pending bill to be passed,” Congressman Yap stressed.
One of the issues being raised by the lawmaker during the deliberation is that the health service delivery is a devolved function and that the approval of HB 6849 and other similar bills is an added fanatical burden to the national government instead of the local government carrying the load.
Congressman Yap argued that the devolution of health care services has not been casted on stone because there are available remedies to undo it such as the passage of the aforesaid proposed bills, thus, the same had been subjected to the legislative process which is well within the powers of Congress to amend laws, to make things right.
According to him, it is not correct for senators to claim that the passage of such bills is not appropriate because health care has already been devolved because when the same was devolved, the situation of the different local governments was not actually the same at that time. Aside from the fact that the funds for health care were not actually downloaded to the local governments which have different financial standings.
Yap pointed out that the BeGH re-nationalization and other similar bills will not only benefit the concerned provinces but also the nearby communities because people had been actually deprived of quality health care services far too long, and that local governments actually do not have sufficient income like other big provinces and cities and that there might be no other chance like the present situation to fix the system.
In Benguet, the lawmaker asserted that the subsidy being provided to the hospital should be used to improve the road networks to ensure the smooth delivery of agricultural products from the farms to the nearest market without unnecessary delays where the same will translate to better income for the farmers and that there will be a domino effect.
Congressman Yap extended an open invitation to senators opposing the enactment of the said bills to visit Benguet for them to appreciate and see for themselves the real situation on the ground.
He also challenged them to leave the comforts of their home and help the local governments improve the delivery of health care services.
‘If you cannot find any reason in your books to support this bill, I pray that God will help you find a reason in your conscience and in your heart to make and take this humanitarian step. We cannot watch another health worker leave because of low morale. We cannot see another person dying because we do not have sufficient equipment. We cannot afford to refuse patients who travelled far because we do not have hospital beds available,” Yap exclaimed.
Photo by Armando M. Bolislis