COTABATO CITY – Four bills have been filed at the regional parliament here for the establishment of two new public hospitals and upgrading of two others in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), even as the author appealed for support from colleagues to fortify health services in the infant geo-political zone.
Dr. Saffrulah Dipatuan, a Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) Parliament member and former health minister of the region, urged his peers to rally the four bills he filed on Wednesday, Aug. 25.
“I am asking my colleagues to please help me and join me in passing these proposed bills that will convert hospitals from Level I bed capacity to Level II bed capacity,” Dipatuan said in his privilege speech.
Of the four measures, two aimed to construct new public hospitals, while the two others sought to increase medical bed capacity in existing medical facilities.
Parliament Bill Nos. 96 and 98 seek to establish 50-bed capacity general hospitals in Masiu, Lanao del Sur (LDS), and in Pikit, North Cotabato.
Parliament Bills Nos. 75 and 99 propose the upgrading of the Dr. Serapio B. Montaner Al-haj Memorial Hospital in LDS from from Level I to Level II, with 100 beds, and the conversion of Tamparan District Hospital to Lanao del Sur Provincial Hospital, with a bed capacity of 150.
Dipatuan said the capacities of the two existing facilities have reached their occupancy limit, serving around 200,000 individuals across 17 municipalities and coastal areas in Lanao del Sur.
Aside from charging free for treatment confinement, hospitals were also providing free home medications to patients, he said.
“It is therefore important that these hospitals be upgraded so that they can cater to their clients better. It is a policy of these hospitals that all patients are enjoying no balance fee,” Dipatuan told the 80-seat parliament.
He said the passage of the bills will ensure expanded access and delivery of health services to Bangsamoro people, particularly the indigents and marginalized sectors in the region.
On August 25, the Parliament also approved the bill seeking to procure an additional P50-million worth of additional oxygen tanks. (Read separate story)
Parliament members Paisalin “Popy” Tago and Zia-ur Rahman Alonto-Adiong, both of Lanao del Sur, have assured to rally Dipatuan’s bills. Adiong is the main sponsor of the just-passed bill on additional oxygen supplies.
ALI G. MACABALANG