The House of Representatives on Monday passed a bill placing the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) Hospital in San Fernando City, Pampanga under the direct supervision and control of the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW).
Under House Bill 8325 or the “Overseas Filipino Workers Hospital Act” approved by 255 members, the OFW Hospital that opened in June last year offers comprehensive health services primarily to OFWs and their legal dependents.
House Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez said the bill is proof of the House of Representatives’ continuous support and commitment to the welfare and protection of the OFWs.
He said the specialty hospital will ensure that the OFWs and their dependents “will get the quality, timely and efficient health care services that they deserve.”
Kabayan Party-list Representative Ron Salo, chair of the House Committee on Overseas Workers Affairs, welcomed the bill’s approval.
“I am more than elated by this development. We are another step closer towards realizing this gift to our OFWs,” Salo said.
HB 8325 mandates the OFW Hospital to serve as a referral facility for repatriated OFWs needing medical assistance and support while ensuring its participation in the provincial and inter-regional healthcare provider networks to allow for a seamless and coordinated referral system for the medical repatriation program in accordance with Republic Act No. 11223 or the Universal Health Care Act.
The OFWH, once enacted into law, will provide 24/7 telehealth services to migrant workers and their families, provide pre-employment medical examination for OFWs, strengthen health surveillance through the provision of a post-employment or post-arrival medical examination for OFWs, and assist and support universities, research institutions, and other hospitals or medical facilities in their studies on health-related concerns of OFWs.
Under the bill, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) is mandated to ensure that existing health benefits and medical assistance programs are strengthened for OFWs, their qualified dependents, OWWA contributors and the general public.
All other agencies, departments, bureaus, offices, or instrumentalities of the government, including government-owned or -controlled corporations, are also mandated to render assistance to the OFWH for the effective implementation of the measure. (PNA)