MEDICAL ASSISTANCE. People line up to seek medical assistance at the Office of Ilocos Norte Representative Alexander "Sandro" Marcos in Laoag City on Friday (Aug. 19, 2022). The neophyte lawmaker is pushing for the establishment of specialty hospitals in Northern Luzon that would be more accessible to his constituents. (Photo by Leilanie Adriano)

LAOAG CITY – Ilocos Norte First District Representative Ferdinand Alexander “Sandro” Marcos, son of President Ferdinand “Bongbong" Marcos Jr., is pushing for the establishment of specialty hospitals in Northern Luzon so that patients no longer have to travel all the way to Metro Manila to avail of special medical services.

"In line with the President’s [state of the nation address], I filed a bill yesterday to hopefully set up specialty hospitals such as the Philippine Health Center, National Kidney and Transplant Institute, Lung Center of the Philippines, Philippine Children’s Medical Center, Philippine Orthopedic Center, and Philippine Cancer Center in Northern Luzon,” the younger Marcos said on his official Facebook page on Friday.

House Bill 3752, which shall be known as the satellite specialty hospitals for Northern Luzon Act, aims to help patients from Northern Luzon seeking medical assistance from Metro Manila’s multi-specialty hospitals.

If approved into law, the construction of satellite specialty hospitals in this part of Luzon will be a big help for patients, particularly those who are underprivileged and need free medical coverage, he said.

Ahead of the younger Marcos' proposed bill, the Department of Health (DOH) has already thought of putting up specialized centers for neonatal illnesses as well as heart, lung, kidney, and cancer diseases in at least seven public hospitals outside Metro Manila by 2025.

This was earlier confirmed by Maria Rosario Vergeire, officer in charge of the DOH, as she reported that the health agency started last year its P15-billion Philippine Health Facility Development Program, which aims to strengthen the healthcare system of various medical institutions in rural areas.

Among the DOH-run hospitals she named under the program were the Baguio General Hospital in Benguet province, Mariano Marcos Memorial Hospital and Medical Center in Batac City, Ilocos Norte; Bicol Regional Training and Teaching Hospital in Legazpi City, Albay; Batangas Medical Center in Batangas City; Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center in Cebu City; Northern Mindanao Medical Center in Cagayan de Oro City; and Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao City.

Among the specialized centers currently in operation are the Philippine Heart Center, Lung Center of the Philippines, the National Kidney and Transplant Institute, and the Philippine Children’s Medical Center, all of which are in Quezon City. (PNA)