Senator Christopher “Bong” Go reassured Filipino migrant workers of his and the current administration’s enduring commitment to protect and prioritize their well-being especially amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
During his visit to the country’s first overseas Filipino workers (OFW) Hospital construction site in San Fernando City, Pampanga, the lawmaker expressed his confidence that the establishment of the hospital would help better protect the welfare of the nation’s “modern-day heroes.”
Go — who also heads the Senate Committee on Health and Demography — stressed that the construction and establishment of the OFW Hospital is not only a dream come true but a fulfilled promise that serves as a testament on how much President Rodrigo Duterte values the sacrifices and contributions of OFW.
To recall, Duterte issued Executive Order 154 on 7 December last year directing the establishment of the OFW hospital and creating its Inter-Agency Committee to be co-chaired by the Secretary of Labor and Employment and Secretary of Health.
The body will also be composed of the Secretary of Budget and Management, Administrators of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration and the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, and two representatives from the private sector as appointed by the President.
The hospital is a six-storey facility with a 100-bed capacity that will mainly serve OFW and their qualified dependents.
Apart from medical care, the facility will likewise carry out research on the prevention, care and treatment of occupational diseases that are common among OFW as well as provision of specialized training for health workers on the implementation of OFW-specific occupational health services.
The construction commenced in January 2021 and was made possible with the P521.8 million donation from BCFI.
A staunch advocate of the rights of Filipino migrant workers, Go was instrumental in the enactment of Republic Act 11641 on December 30, creating the Department of Migrant Workers.
The Senate version of the Act, Senate Bill 2234, is co-authored and co-sponsored by Go. It is the consolidated version of an earlier measure he filed which sought to create the Department of Overseas Filipino Workers.
The newly-established department shall serve as the lead agency for formulating and implementing policies, plans and programs that will ensure the protection, promotion of interests, timely resolution of problems, and effective reintegration of migrant workers.
With the enactment of the measure, Go earlier congratulated the Filipino migrant workers who also fought hard for its passage. He reassured them that the new department will focus the full resources of the government on protecting their rights and advancing their interests.