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Romualdezes thank Rody for tertiary hospital

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Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez and his wife, Tingog party list Rep. Yedda Marie Romualdez, on Wednesday hailed President Duterte’s enactment of a new law providing for the setting up of a tertiary hospital in Calbayog City, Samar.

Duterte signed the Republic Act (RA) 11703 into law on April 16, providing for the creation of the first ever tertiary hospital in Calbayog under the control and supervision of the Department of Health (DOH).

The Romualdez couple were the principal sponsors of the measure.

“We thank President Duterte for acknowledging the pressing needs of our kababayans in Samar. Tingog has always, and continues to advocate for measures that will improve our health system and make healthcare accessible for all,” said Mrs. Yedda Romualdez, chairperson of the House Committee on Welfare of Children.

“With the passage of this law, we hope that patients and their families will no longer have to travel four to five hours from Northern Samar, three to four hours from Eastern Samar, and two to three hours from Samar just to get to the nearest government tertiary hospital located in Tacloban (Leyte). With these three provinces already having one of the highest poverty incidences in the country, the availability of accessible and affordable hospital care is one of its most pressing needs,” she added.

“As one of the principal authors of this measure, we earlier called on its swift passage for the benefit of our fellow Filipinos in Samar especially that we are still in a pandemic. We are confident that with the passage of this law and the allocation of funds for the hospital, the medical needs of Samarnons and residents of nearby provinces will be better served,” Majority Leader Romualdez said.

Samar, the third largest island in the country, consisted of three provinces–Northern Samar, (Western) Samar, and Eastern Samar–with a combined population of more than two million.

However, there has been no tertiary government hospital on the island.

DOH Region VIII director Minerva Molon had strongly backed the measure, saying it would address Samar’s imbalance of one doctor for 10,337 patients, as opposed to the WHO’s recommended ratio of 1: 1,000.

Mrs. Romualdez said there are 51 government-owned and 27 privately-owned hospitals in Eastern Visayas.

Of these, only two are retained hospitals of the DOH – the Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center in Tacloban City and the Schistosomiasis Research Hospital in Palo, Leyte – while the rest of the government hospitals are provincial and district hospitals and infirmaries were owned and managed by the local government units.“Level 3 or tertiary government hospitals are the largest types of hospitals and have a wider range of medical and surgical capacities compared to Level 1 or 2 hospital. They can provide more comprehensive patient care and can handle the more serious cases,” the lady solon explained. “This is why the creation of the Samar Island Medical Center is important for the residents of Samar Island.”

Senator Christopher Go, chairman of the Committee on Health and Demography, has reported that aside from RA 11703 Duterte signed three other measures that establish hospitals, or upgrade existing ones in Tayabas City, Quezon; Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija; and Candon City, Ilocos Sur.


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