Construction of OFW Hospital on track

Department of Labor and Employment Secretary Silvestre Bello III said on November 19 that the construction of the hospital for overseas Filipino workers (OFW) in Pampanga remains on track for completion next year despite being interrupted by the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid 19) pandemic.

Bello said the quarantine measures imposed to control the outbreak caused delays in the project but construction stays on schedule.

“There were stoppages in construction works but the hospital for our migrant workers would still be finished next year,” Bello explained.

Bello said President Rodrigo Duterte also hopes the hospital becomes operational in 2021 so it can start serving OFWs.

Originally set for completion in April next year, the hospital can still be finished by December 2021, builders of the project assured.

Bello led the signing of the usufruct agreement between the Provincial Government of Pampanga and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) for the construction of the first-ever OFW hospital in the country in Baranggay Sindalan, San Fernando, Pampanga.

Signing for DOLE was Bello while for the Pampanga Provincial Government was Governor Lilia Pineda.

“I hope we can do our best to complete this wonderful project earlier. The sooner it is finished, the sooner we can help our OFWs,” Bello added.

Aside from the Pampanga Provincial Government and DOLE, also involved in the project are the Department of Health (DoH), Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor), and the Bloomberry Cultural Foundation.

Once completed, the hospital will provide free medical services to the country’s modern day heroes, Bello said.

“It will render free services when OFWs are securing medical certificates covering laboratory exams and other requirements for their overseas deployment,” Bello explained.

Earlier, it was agreed Pagcor will donate P200 million for the acquisition and installation of equipment and facilities for the hospital while Bloomberry Cultural Foundation will shoulder the construction cost.

Meanwhile, yesterday’s signing of agreement formally grants usufruct over the property in favor of DOLE.

The deal sets forth the rights and obligations of the parties. “It’s also an affirmation that the parties will cooperate in good faith and exert all reasonable efforts to realize the construction, establishment, operation and maintenance of the OFW hospital.

Witnessing the signing agreement were Malacanang Spokesperson Harry Roque, OWWA Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac, Pagcor chairwoman Andrea Domingo and DOH Undersecretary Lilibeth David.

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