Former President Rodrigo Duterte (Presidential Photo)

MANILA – Prior to stepping down from office, former President Rodrigo Duterte has signed around eight laws creating hospitals in several parts of the country.

Duterte signed Republic Act (RA) 11872 establishing a hospital in Panabo City, Davao del Norte, which will be known as the Panabo City District Hospital and under the direct control and supervision of the provincial government of Davao del Norte.

The provincial government of Davao del Norte is designated to earmark the funds needed for the creation of the Panabo City District Hospital.

Under RA 11873, the Lamidan Community Hospital in Don Marcelino, Davao Occidental will be established and supervised by the Davao Occidental government.

RA 11874 was also signed for the establishment of a community hospital, which will be known as the Nuing Community Hospital, in the municipality of Jose Abad Santos in Davao Occidental province.

The community hospital will be under the direct supervision of the Davao Occidental government, which is also directed to provide the budget needed for its creation.

RA 11876 also establishes the Isaac Tolentino Memorial Medical Center, a Level III general hospital in Tagaytay City, Cavite which will be managed by the city government of Tagaytay and developed into a medical facility that leads and specializes in sports and rehabilitation medicine.

RA 11878 directs the establishment of the Ospital ng Meycauayan in Meycauayan City, Bulacan which will be under the direct control and supervision of the city government of Meycauayan.

Under RA 11886, a children's hospital will be established in Liloan, Cebu, which will be known as the Liloan Children's Hospital.

The Liloan Children's Hospital will specialize in children's health care services from prenatal to pediatric care and nutrition counseling services, immunization, and training classes on children's health for parents.

The hospital, which will be known as the Iloilo City Hospital (ICH), will be located in the city of Iloilo and under the direct control and supervision of the Iloilo City government, according to RA 11891.

Around PHP500 million will be appropriated for the capital outlay of the ICH, which will be included in the budget of the Department of Health (DOH) under the 2023 General Appropriations Act. The Iloilo City government will provide the funding for the operation and maintenance of the ICH.

Duterte likewise inked RA 11892, establishing a geriatric medical center in Kalibo, Aklan which will be known as the Aklan Geriatric Medical Center.

The Aklan government is tasked to provide the necessary funds for the establishment of the Aklan Geriatric Medical Center, while the Health secretary is directed to include the support for the facility's capital outlay requirements in the department's subsidy program.

Under the laws, any future increase in bed capacity, health care facilities, service capability, and human resource complement will be based on the hospital development plan.

Converted hospital

RA 11883 was also signed by Duterte, converting the Governor Celestino Gallares Memorial Hospital in Tagbilaran City, Bohol into a medical complex to be known as the Governor Celestino Gallares Multi-Specialty Medical Complex (GCGMMC).

The GCGMMC, which will be controlled and supervised by the DOH, will be comprised of the Gov. Celestino Gallares Memorial Medical Center in Tagbilaran City and the Multi-Specialty Medical Center in Cortes, Bohol.

The two facilities comprising the GGGMMC will operate as separate and distinct facilities from each other and will be headed by their respective medical center chiefs.

Increased bed capacity

Duterte also signed around 20 laws increasing the bed capacity of several hospitals in the country.

RAs 11863 and 11866 raise the bed capacity of the Laurel Memorial District Hospital in Tanauan, Batangas and Mangatarem District Hospital in Mangatarem, Pangasinan from 25 to 50 beds.

RAs 11865, 11867 and 11870 also direct the upgrading of the bed capacity of Ilocos Sur District Hospital-Magsingal in Magsingal, Ilocos Sur; the Congressman Natalio P. Castillo, Sr. Memorial Hospital in Loon, Bohol; and the Dr. Serapio B. Montaner, Jr. Memorial Hospital in Malabang, Lanao del Sur from 25 to 100 beds.

Under RA 11864, the Lipa City District Hospital in Lipa, Batangas is upgraded into a Level II Hospital and its bed capacity is increased from 75 to 200 beds.

Duterte, through RAs 11869 and 11881, also raised the bed capacity of the Roxas District Hospital in Roxas, Oriental Mindoro and the Concepcion District Hospital in Concepcion, Tarlac from 50 to 100 beds.

RA 11871 increases the bed capacity of the Martin Marasigan Memorial Hospital in Cuenca, Batangas from 25 to 80 beds, while RA 11875 raised the bed capacity of the Lingayen District Hospital in Lingayen, Pangasinan from 60 to 100 beds.

Under RA 11877, the Oriental Mindoro Central District Hospital in Pinamalayan, Oriental Mindoro is converted into a provincial hospital and will now be known as the Oriental Mindoro Provincial Hospital. Its bed capacity will also be increased from 25 to 150 beds.

The bed capacity of the Davao Regional Medical Center in Tagum City, Davao del Norte increases from 600 to 1,000 beds, while the number of beds in the Eastern Pangasinan District Hospital in Tayug, Pangasinan now reaches 250 from 150 after Duterte inked RAs 11879 and 11880.

The Gov. Faustino N. Dy, Sr. Memorial Hospital in Ilagan, Isabela, which currently has 100 beds, will now have 500 beds, based on RA 11882.

RAs 11884 and 11885 order the increase in the bed capacity of the Balindong District Hospital in Wato-Balindong, Lanao del Sur and the Unayan Municipal Hospital in Binidayan, Lanao del Sur from 10 to 50 beds.

The bed capacity of the Ospital ng Palawan in Puerto Princesa City is upgraded from 10 to 400 beds, according to RA 11887.

Under RA 11888, the Orani District Hospital in Orani, Bataan is upgraded into a Level II Hospital and its bed capacity increases from 50 to 200 beds.

RA 11889 raises the bed capacity of the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center in Baguio City in Benguet province from 800 to 1,000 beds.

The bed capacity of the Teresita Lopez Jalandoni Provincial Hospital in Silay, Negros Occidental is upgraded from 100 to 300 beds, according to RA 11890.

2 of 2 Meanwhile, the Novaliches District Hospital in Bartolome, Quezon City is now a Level II Hospital following the signing of RA 11868.

The laws also mandate the upgrading of the existing professional health care services and facilities of the hospitals to conform with and be commensurate to the increase in bed capacity.

The RAs also emphasize the need to increase the existing workforce of the hospitals, including doctors, nurses, and support personnel.

The laws, which were signed by Duterte on Wednesday but made public late Thursday night, take effect 15 days after their publication in the Official Gazette or a newspaper of general circulation.

Lawmakers’ duty

Senator Christopher "Bong" Go said the signing into law of the measures is crucial in the continuing fight against the Covid-19 pandemic and thanked Duterte for supporting their advocacy to upgrade health facilities.

"It is our duty as legislators to advocate for policies to remedy the inadequate facilities and equipment in our government hospitals, especially in these critical situations,” he said in a statement on Friday.

Go, chair of the Committee on Health and Demography, sponsored 69 laws in the 18th Congress to upgrade existing government hospitals and establish new ones.

"Improving health facilities and services in the provinces would help enhance the overall well-being of all Filipinos. Filipino families must be able to enjoy easy access to responsive healthcare systems even in rural areas," he said. (With a report from Wilnard Bacelonia/PNA)