OFW Hospital in Pampanga to Begin Operations on May 1

Earlier this month, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) announced that the OFW Hospital in San Fernando, Pampanga, will be operational starting May 1, Labor Day.

Of the thousands of migrant workers currently staying in the Philippines, the OFW Hospital is the most recent medical facility built specifically for them.

Bello: OFW Hospital to Open on May 1

Bello: OFW Hospital in Pampanga to start operations on May 1
Image used for illustration purposes only.

The hospital, which will be operated by the Philippine General Hospital, is the first of its kind in the country for Filipinos working overseas, and is among the notable legacies of the Duterte administration, GMA News Online reported.

[A]ll OFWs, kung mayroon silang sakit kasama ang kanilang legal dependents (if they or their legal dependents are ill), will be treated in this hospital for free,” Silvestre Bello III, Labor Secretary, stated at the Laging Handa briefing.

Executive Order 154, which was signed by President Rodrigo Duterte, directed the establishment of the hospital. It also created an inter-agency committee on the OFW Hospital (ICOH).

The facility is co-chaired by the DOLE’s Secretary and the Health Secretary. Its members include representatives of the various welfare agencies for overseas workers, such as the Department of Budget and Management Secretary, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) chiefs, as well as two representatives of land-based and sea-based-OFWs.

The hospital will be funded by the fees charged by the Labor Department for its establishment. It will primarily serve the healthcare needs of the overseas Filipino workers and their qualified dependents.

There will be 100 beds available at the hospital, and it will largely address the requirements of the country’s overseas Filipino workers.

It was established by the Labor Department, according to Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, to ensure that the nation’s modern-day heroes receive the finest possible care.

Here’s a video report on the development of the first-ever OFW hospital in the Philippines as posted by GMA Regional TV:

READ NEXT: List of OFW Programs Launched during Duterte Administration

Breaking Ground of First OFW Hospital

Local officials together with Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go led the groundbreaking of the overseas Filipino workers (OFW) hospital in Barangay Sindalan in the City of San Fernando on Tuesday, February 18.

This is the second groundbreaking ceremony for the highly anticipated OFW hospital which officials claim to offer free health services to all OFWs and their families. 

[WATCH] Officials Break Ground Anew for First OFW Hospital
Credits: PCOO

[VIDEO] Officials Break Ground for First OFW Hospital in Pampanga

Governor Dennis Pineda commended the building project as an achievement for the government on taking care of the health of returning OFWs and their families, as shared in a report by the Philippine Star.

The soon to be constructed government facility will cost P500 million, with the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) already donating P200 million for the equipment of the said hospital.

For his part, Senator Go shared that he will be pushing for support for the said hospital in the Senate, as he urged the congressman in the Lower House to do the same. 

He added that if the hospital project in Pampanga becomes successful, extensions in Visayas and Mindanao will also be considered.

Go shared: “This hospital will provide greater ease for our OFWs in availing of needed medical service every time they come home.”

The much-anticipated facility is expected to rise in a two-hectare lot at the Provincial Engineering Office Compound in Barangay Sindalan that was donated by the provincial government of Pampanga.

The groundbreaking ceremony came a few days after a memorandum of understanding was signed among partners including the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Health (DOH), Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR), the Pampanga provincial government, and Bloomberry Cultural Foundation Inc. at Kingsborough International Convention Center in San Fernando, Pampanga.

Although the reason as to why the construction was delayed was not immediately made known, Congresswoman Arroyo had earlier requested the House of Representatives committees on health to sponsor a bill creating the OFW Hospital. 

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM), she said, suggested that a bill be passed so funding for the operations of the hospital will continue in the next years. 

After this, the House of Representatives passed House Bill No. 9202 creating the OFW Hospital, but Senate failed to have its own counterpart bill before the session adjourned last year.

As earlier reported, the OFW Hospital is envisioned to provide free “tertiary level care” to all active and non-active members of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) and their legal dependents. 

The five-story building with a 100-bed capacity will be equipped with dialysis and cancer centers.

The project is targeted to be completed in time for the Labor Day celebration on May 1, 2021.

Sen. Christopher ‘Bong’ Go, PAGCOR chairperson Andrea Domingo and Pampanga Gov. Dennis Padilla led the groundbreaking inside the Pampanga Engineering Office compound.

Accordingly, the Php550-million hospital will be backed by Bloomberry Cultural Foundation Inc., the corporate social responsibility (CSR) arm of billionaire Enrique Razon’s Solaire Resort and Casino.

Here is a video of the event as shared by Cinemotion Digital Films Official Page via Facebook:

ALSO READ: List of OFW Programs Launched during Duterte Administration

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