"Migrant Workers Hospital Act of 2008"
Sponsorship Speech on Senate Bill 2362 under Committee Report 68
Posted: July 22nd, 2008 @ 5:46am
Mr. President, distinguished colleagues of this august chamber, your Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development jointly with the Committees on Health, Ways and Means, and Finance have the honor to sponsor Senate Bill No. 2362 under Committee Report No. 68, entitled:
“An Act Establishing a Special Hospital for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and their Dependents, Appropriating Funds Therefor and for Other Purposes”.
Mr. President, this measure which was referred to the Committee on Labor pertains to the creation of a hospital. The creation is necessitated by the fact that based on statistics, about 42% of all repatriated OFWs returned to the Philippines needing medical attention or hospital confinement for various medical and mental illnesses sustained abroad.
Your Honor, distinguished colleagues, the exigencies supporting this measure are as evident as they are compelling, for the measure is rooted in no less than our Constitution which guarantees that the State shall adopt an integrated and comprehensive approach to health development which shall endeavor to make essential goods, health and other services available to all the people at affordable cost. Towards this end, the State shall protect the interest and promote the well-being of Filipino overseas contract workers including their families and dependents through the provision of social and welfare services.
Mr. President, the proposed measure seeks to address the health needs of our overseas workers by creating a hospital that exclusively caters to them. This, however, will not diminish the existing package given to the overseas workers but aims to complement the present health care package provided by OWWA that shall include supplementary provision for preventive, promotive, diagnostic and rehabilitative programs so that a comprehensive / total package health care program for OFWs and their dependents can be attained.
Mr. President, data from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) reveal that as of 2006, there were 1,062,587 Filipinos deployed for overseas employment, generating US$ 12,761.307 worth of remittances and therefore contributing 10% to the country’s gross nation product for the same year.
Mr. President, we cannot take for granted the indispensable role played by our migrant workers. We have to protect them because aside from the skills and experiences that they possess, the State has to consider that the best capital that our migrant workers should possess is good health.
And finally, Mr. President, if the State cannot provide a better health care program towards our migrant workers, how can we expect other countries to protect the health of our “kababayans” and their dependents. The least that we could do for our modern heroes is to pass this bill.