Go scores on priority health and education bills

The House Committee on Health chaired by Rep. Angelina Tan unanimously approved yesterday House Bill 4127 seeking to authorize the Department of Health to set and approve the bed capacity of all DOH hospitals.
“Unfortunately, the current hospital bed to population ratio is on 1 bed per 1,032 people which is high. As per recommendation of the World Health Organization, there should be 20 hospitals beds per 20,000 population or a ratio of 1:500. Truth be told that the lack of bed capacity in public hospitals is one of the biggest burdens of health services,” Go explained.
Records reveal that DOH hospitals continue to experience high occupancy rates and the number of bed inadequacies led to longer waiting times for patients needing medical attention resulting to a compromised delivery of health service.
“Currently, hospitals can only increase its bed capacity through legislation. Given the long time period for legislations to be approved, this process has not kept pace with the increasing population growth,” the Baguio lawmaker said.
The DOH through their program manager, Ms. Madeline Doromal, appreciates the significance of the proposed bill and interposes no objection. She noted that it usually takes 21 months to come up with a law to increase bed capacity for a particular DOH hospital. The DOH expresses their full support to the said bill.
“Since DOH manages these hospitals, it has the capacity and expertise to assess gaps in medical service delivery,” Go stressed. “Allowing the DOH to administratively determine and approve the bed capacity as necessary, shall increase the efficiency in the delivery of health services by ensuring that the bed capacity of hospitals matches that of current demand,” the solon added.
Meanwhile, House Bill 5015, An Act Providing Scholarship Grants to Qualified Tertiary Students, was already approved in the Committee on Appropriations. It was consolidated with other 46 similar bills filed and approved by the House Committee on Higher Education.
The consolidated house bills shall be known as the “Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act”.
Provisions of the proposed measure provides for an exemption from paying tuition and other school fees for all Filipino students currently enrolled or shall enroll in courses of a bachelor’s degree or any comparable undergraduate degree in any state university or college (SUC).
There shall be also free education to all qualified students enrolled in any post-secondary technical-vocational education and training (TVET) leading to non-degree certificate or diploma programs offered by any run-state technical-vocational institution (TVI) under TESDA.
“The proposed consolidated measure basically provides free tuition and other school fees in SUCs as well as strengthening our existing law, R.A. 10687, or the Unified Student Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education (UniFAST),” Go said. “However, we must include a guideline ensuring that the beneficiaries of this program shall prioritize the poor and deserving students,” he added.
Once enacted into law, its funding shall be included in the General Appropriations Act and other sources of funds such as grants, donations, collection, and other forms of assistance from local and foreign donors or other public or private entities. PR / ABN

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