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Rough Cuts | A ‘must’ for Davao Region’s congressmen

That there is no shortage of hospitals in Davao City is a fact. That there is a shortage of beds in government hospitals, the worst of which at the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC), is one truth long known by health authorities. That there is shortage of beds, equipment, facilities, and Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) especially at this time of the Corona Virus Disease 2019 (CoViD) pandemic is getting more acute at the said hospital is already most overt. However, it appears that no drastic efforts have been done by health authorities to address the problem. There are of course some palliatives being undertaken.

Yes, under the watch of medical director Dr. Leopoldo Vega, SPMC has been recipient of several improvements and upgrading of its facilities and equipment. However, the number of patients being brought to the said government hospital has also grown by leaps and over the last five years.

This has happened understandably because the SPMC is not only catering to patients from Davao City but also from other provinces in the Davao Region and even from nearby provinces of Regions 12 and 10. And with CoViD 19 still around, though slowly waning according to data from the Department of Health (DOH), SPMC has to continue maintaining its readiness to serve patients infected by the deadly virus coming from other areas the hospitals of which are even more ill-equipped and understaffed than the former.

We had personally observed the effect of the lack of beds in the hospital only a few months back. We were then visiting a niece who had a caesarian operation. Lo and behold. She (our niece) was sharing bed with another patient.

And she was not the only patient in that situation. As we scanned our eyes at the hospital’s ward, we noticed that there were several beds with two patient occupants.

SPMC is a national government tertiary hospital and is perhaps the biggest in the Davao Region. Hence, we feel that the primary responsibility of ensuring that this would be continuously upgraded in terms of facilities, equipment, and personnel is under the province of the DOH. By such, the congressmen in the region, especially those representing the various districts in Davao City, need to include in their legislative agenda measures that would lead to the improvement of the said hospital. Can any of our national legislators, including the Party list lawmakers from Davao City (there are two of them) pay the SPMC even just a short visit? Maybe their ocular inspection could goad them to introduce legislations in Congress that will call for the construction of new hospital buildings complete with corresponding beds and medical equipment.

Maybe our lawmakers can also find ways to increase the present level of manpower especially medical residents. Perhaps the other problem of lack of doctors and nurses working in government hospitals will also be addressed.

The SPMC compound, for certain, can still suffice for additional buildings. Perhaps what is lacking is a budget to fund the additional infrastructure, to pay for more medical manpower, and procure modern and sophisticated laboratory equipment.
Of course we subscribe to the fact that the CoViD pandemic has badly crippled the economy of our country as it has done to the rest of the countries of the world.

In fact, in last Tuesday’s briefing made by the Palace through Presidential spokesman Harry Roque, he somehow hesitatingly admitted to Malacanang reporters that the Philippines could go into some kind of recession as an immediate consequence of the pandemic.

According to Roque, it is common knowledge that when the government imposed the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), there was hardly any economic activity all over the country. Industries and businesses were closed except for those providing the people’s basic needs for their day-to-day existence.

So, with about 90 percent of the Philippine population out of work and mostly no pay, the government has to fork in from its treasury to help the Filipinos survive. But with its limited reserves and its incapability to collect taxes while the country is still in a crippled state due to the global health crisis, it will not be surprising if the national and local coffers will end up bled dry for some time.

This situation may be used as a reason by Davao congressmen to refrain from introducing measures that will redound to the improvement of the SPMC.

However, we believe that making ocular inspection of the largest government hospital in the region will be one big opportunity for them to see the actual situation. Their personal observation would most likely aid them to plan out legislations that they can raise in Congress. After all, experience shows it will take time for the House to deliberate bills especially those of local significance.

Or, would the Davao Region national lawmakers rather wait for another health pandemic before they start making their moves?

It would be like the most common trait of Filipinos making the sign of the cross right at the very time lightning strikes.

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