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Senate passes bills seeking to upgrade several Philippine hospitals

The Senate on Monday approved on third and final reading four bills that would improve hospital facilities in different regions of the country.

The Bicol Medical Center's capacity would be doubled to 1,000 beds should President Rodrigo Duterte sign Senate Bill No. 640.

The Caraga Regional Hospital in Surigao Del Norte would also increase its bed capacity from 150 to 500 through the enactment of House Bill No. 1477.

“I saw the deplorable situation where our patients were forced to lie on halls or corridors because the hospital is full," Senator Christopher Go, chair of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, said in a statement. "It is not only unhygienic but very cruel and inhumane to the patients as well as to their families. They deserve better.”

Citing data from the Department of Health, Go said that 65 percent of public hospitals nationwide were overcrowded.

“We are short of more than 40,000 hospital beds nationwide and this figure is only expected to increase even more as the health care requirements of our people expand and as the population of our country grows,” he added.

The Senate was also in favor of upgrading the Maria L. Eleazar District Hospital in Tagkawayan, Quezon to a Level III General Hospital through House Bill No. 5871.

The Talisay District Hospital in Cebu's Talisay City would likewise be transformed into the Cebu South Medical Center through House Bill No. 1799.

Go said that equipping government hospitals in the country was crucial, especially amid the global outbreak of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). — DVM, GMA News