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Hontiveros pushes passage of bill to increase bed capacities of hospitals

Congress should fast-track the passage of the bill seeking to authorize the Department of Health (DOH) to increase the bed capacities of hospitals in the country, according to Senator Risa Hontiveros on Tuesday.

The senator issued the call after the Philippines witnessed a surge of COVID-19 cases in previous days.

In a statement, the lawmaker said it would be more prudent to delegate this power of upgrading hospital services to the DOH instead of the existing legislative process.

"Masyadong matagal at magastos ang maya't mayang pagpasa ng batas para lang paisa-isang madagdagan ang kakayahan ng mga ospital," Hontiveros said.

"Huwag na nating hintayin na ma-overwhelm ang mga hospital dito sa Metro Manila at sa ibang lugar na maraming kaso ng COVID-19," she added.

Still pending at the committee level in the chamber is Senate Bill No. 863, filed last year, which authorizes the DOH to rationalize the bed capacities of the hospitals it maintains.

Earlier this week, the DOH said 11 hospitals in Metro Manila reported a 100 percent utilization rate of their intensive care unit beds for COVID-19 patients.

Hospitals are mandated to designate 30 percent of hospital beds for COVID-19 cases, according to Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire.

COVID-19 cases in the Philippines have reached over 47,800, as of July 7.

Experts from the University of the Philippines projected that the number of infected in the country could reach 100,000 by the end of August. —LDF, GMA News