Team Unity eyes more hospitals, doctors in regions

May. 12, 2007

MANILA –Team Unity senatorial candidates want to speed up the construction of more public hospitals in the regions, the improvement of the facilities and quality of services of existing hospitals, and the formation of a Philippine Medical Academy that will produce more medical doctors, to enable the government to meet the growing health needs of the country’s booming population.

Sen. Ralph Recto, who is now seeking a second term in the Senate, said the coalition has already mapped out measures by which to improve health care in the country, the same measures he would propose if ever he gets the chance to serve another term.

In a radio interview, Recto said the robust demand for health care by a population growing at an annual rate of 2.5%, posed a much bigger challenge to the country’s health sector reeling from a lack of medical facilities and trained health personnel.

“In the next 25 years, our population will double in size. (Thus), we have to double our infrastructure, hospitals, educational facilities, the number of teachers, the number of doctors, the number of nurses, etc.,” Recto said.

He then spelled out the measures part of what he described as a comprehensive health service program by which the government could meet the growing demand for quality health care.

He said the quality of health services extended by public hospitals must be improved and be on the par with the quality of services extended by privatelyowned medical facilities. Tax revenues, he said, would be enough to sustain a higher quality of services provided by public hospitals. “Para naman mapakinabangan ng taongbayan ‘yung buwis na binabayaran nila (This is one social payback that the people can draw from their taxes),” he added.

He also stressed the need to build more specialty hospitals in the regions. At present, those afflicted with heart, kidney and lung diseases are brought to the medical attention of specialty hospitals like the Heart Center, Kidney Center and Lung Center, all located in Metro Manila.

Lastly, Recto sought the formation of a Philippine Medical Academy a government institution geared toward medical education of the youth that would produce an army of doctors that would be proportionate to the country’s growing population.

Recto has been zeroingin on the formation of the Philippine Medical Academy. In a separate radio interview, Recto pounded on the importance of constructing more medical facilities in the caliber of the Philippine General Hospitals, and specialty hospitals, in the regions. The Philippine Medical Academy, he said, would complement these hospitals by producing more doctors and by upgrading the skills of licensed doctors and other medical staff.

Recto said that if the voters would bring him back to the Senate, he would focus on socio-economic issues such as poverty and joblessness, and the problems of low incomes being gobbled down by rising cost of goods. “I believe those who have less in life should have more in HEARTTSS,” he added, referring to his campaign mnemonic that represented his own advocacy on issues covering health, education, agriculture, roads and infrastructure, technology, tourism, security and shelter.

Recto has been emphasizing the need to spread among the people the fruits of economic growth. “Para malutas ‘ung problema g sikmura at kahirapan sa ating bansa, kakulangan sa pagkain halimbawa, (at upang) mabawasan ang poverty incidence, kinakailangan na bigyan ng focus ang mga policia na ginagawa natin tungkol sa ekonomiya, (na kung saan) nakakapaloob ‘yung usapang trabaho, mas mataas na sweldo, at mababang presyo ng bilihin,” he said.

He then described his HEARTTSS program as comprehensive enough to enable the government to tackle problems of hunger, poverty, and joblessness the basic problems that pundits claim have been gnawing at the moral fiber of society.

Having steered the passage of revenue-enhancement measures that helped narrow the government’s budgetary shortfalls, Recto said he could pinpoint exactly where to obtain funds to finance the government’s socio-economic programs.

In the same breath, Recto said that because the economy has been growing at a faster arte, the country would likely experience a boom in the next three years. “‘Wag natin sayangin ang pagkakataon ito. Isipin natin ang hinaharap.” ###

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