Senator Risa Hontiveros filed a bill that seeks to authorize the Department of Health (DOH) to increase the bed capacities of hospitals in the Philippines.
The senator made the call after the country recorded a surge of COVID-19 cases in recent days. DOH reported 2,539 additional cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, July 8, 2020, bringing the total number of cases in the Philippines to 50,359.
The senator said it would be wise to give DOH the power of upgrading hospital services 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.
(Passing a law from time to time to increase the hospital’s capacity is too long and costly.)
“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.
(Let’s not wait for the hospitals here in Metro Manila and elsewhere to be overwhelmed with many cases of COVID-19.)
Senate Bill No. 863, which was filed last year, was still pending at the committee level in the chamber. The bill would authorize DOH to upgrade the ed capacities of the hospitals under its jurisdiction.
Malacañang said Monday NCR could return to “stricter” community quarantine if hospitals get overwhelmed by the spike of COVID-19 cases in the capital region.
“We go back to stricter quarantine or provide more facilities,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in an online media forum when asked about the government’s possible response in case hospitals would reach its maximum capacity.
DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, government hospitals are not yet overwhelmed with new virus cases. However, she clarified that critical care resources are at “moderate risk level.”
Hospitals are mandated to designate 30 percent of hospital bed capacities for COVID-19 cases, Vergerie said.
As of July 8, the country recorded a total of 50,359 cases, 1,314 deaths, and 12,588 recoveries.
Meanwhile, Professors from the University of the Philippines said the number of COVID-19 cases in the country could reach up to 100,000 by the end of August.
Professor Ranjit Rye from the UP Department of Political Science added the low estimate of coronavirus cases in the Philippines by the end of July is 60,000.