LAUNCH. President Rodrigo Duterte (4th from left) leads the inspection of the OFW Hospital in the City of San Fernando, Pampanga on Sunday (May 1, 2022). He dedicated the facility to the country's "modern heroes". (PTV Facebook photo)

MANILA – President Rodrigo R. Duterte on Sunday lauded the construction of a new hospital built specifically for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and their dependents.

Duterte led the inspection of the OFW Hospital in San Fernando City, Pampanga, coinciding with Labor Day celebrations.

“Please know that this is the government’s way of thanking our OFWs for their valuable contributions to our country’s socio-economic progress and for their critical role in upholding the Filipino identity in the global community,” he said during the inspection of the hospital that is set to start its operations as a polyclinic on May 2, with full operations expected by the end of June.

He vowed full support for initiatives that promote the welfare and development of OFWs, noting that they are among the government’s “reliable partners” in nation-building, especially during challenges, calamities, and crises such as the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Their unwavering dedication and perseverance as well as their sacrifices to provide for their families make them worthy to be called mga bagong bayani (new heroes),” he added.

Duterte recognized the efforts of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Health (DOH), and all government and private sectors, in completing the health facility.

“Your commitment to translate the blueprint of this project into a tangible reality is truly noteworthy,” he said.

He said he is confident that the construction of the hospital will be finished on time so that OFWs and their dependents can fully enjoy the services and privileges offered by the facility.

“I, therefore, look forward to the successful operations of this facility in the months and years ahead,” he said.

He enjoined the management, staff, and various health care professionals who will work in the facility to perform their duties with utmost excellence, responsibility, and compassion.

“Always keep in mind that the care and services that you provide to your [patients] will ultimately redound to the overall well-being of our citizenry,” he said.

OFW Hospital (PTV Facebook photo)


Accessible health services

Duterte also congratulated the provincial government of Pampanga and other agency partners involved in the construction of the Pampanga Provincial Hospital – Clark for providing accessible health services and other basic needs. 

“You have helped us realize our goal of a healthier and more productive Filipino citizen,” he said in his speech during its groundbreaking in Clark Freeport Zone in Pampanga.

He lauded Pampanga Governor Dennis “Delta” Pineda, saying he would be remembered for the construction of the hospital. 

“Responsible and responsive leaders should know the areas where they can build and establish advantageous institutions even for the successful generations,” he said. 

Elected officials, Duterte said, should harness and develop “a more discerning character” so they can govern with a firm resolve for genuine social change.

He expressed confidence that the construction of the facility will proceed according to approved timelines.

“The strategic location of this hospital will make our services and assistance programs more accessible to neighboring communities. It will likewise decongest other hospitals in the region, especially when a major public health crisis is coming in the future,” he said. 

Duterte also vowed to remain resolute in maximizing the government’s capacities and utilizing assets to save lives as the country continues to respond to various healthcare challenges.

The Pampanga Provincial Hospital-Clark, which is set to rise at Changi Gateway, Clark Global City, is a three-story hospital with a two-story support service building. 

It is the first government hospital inside the Clark Economic Zone and it aims to provide accessible and low-cost health services to more than 120,000 workers within the Clark Freeport Zone. 

Built on a 1.5-hectare land parcel donated by the provincial government of Pampanga, the OFW Hospital was made possible through the joint efforts of DOLE as its owner and manager, Bloomberry Cultural Foundation for the cost of construction, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation for funding the procurement of medical equipment, and University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital (PGH) for the initial operationalization of the hospital's polyclinic.

The DOLE and PGH in January this year signed a memorandum of agreement for the latter to provide assistance in training clinical and administrative personnel, planning and acquisition of hospital equipment, and formulation of clinical and fiscal process flow.

The preparation for the project started during the term of then Pampanga Gov. Lilia Pineda in 2018 and was continued by the incumbent Gov. Delta Pineda. 

The provincial government entered a deed of usufruct agreement with the Clark Development Corporation on the use of land for the realization of the project. 

On Dec. 7, 2021, Duterte signed Executive Order No. 154 to hasten the completion of the OFW Hospital which has encountered delays. It was initially set to be inaugurated by the last quarter of the year but the completion is now eyed by June.

Former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Executive Sectetary Salvador Medialdea, Sen. Christopher Go, DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III, and DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III joined President Duterte during the inspection. (PNA)