To address congestion in Metro Manila hospitals, President Rodrigo Duterte has signed into law a bill that will establish a new medical facility that will primarily serve Filipinos living in Southern Luzon.

In an announcement on Tuesday (April 19), Chairperson of the House Committee on Health and Quezon Rep. Angelina “Helen” Tan said the president officially inked Republic Act No. (RA) 11702, which seeks to construct the Southern Luzon Multi-Specialty Medical Center.

“The construction of the hospital is a big help because patients from Southern Tagalog will no longer go to Manila for immediate medical attention and treatment,” Tan stressed. This will include Filipinos from Bicol, Batangas, Cavite, Laguna, Marinduque, Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro, Palawan, Quezon, Rizal, Romblon, and Lucena.

RA 11702 will also address the needs of patients from Southern Luzon seeking medical assistance from Metro Manila’s specialized hospitals like the Philippine Heart Center, National Kidney and Transplant Institute, and Lung Center of the Philippines. 

“There shall be priority for the needs of the underprivileged, sick, elderly, disabled, women, and children. The State shall endeavor to provide free medical care to paupers,” Tan, who’s one of the law’s principal authors, noted. 

The new hospital, which will be built in Quezon’s Tayabas, will be controlled and supervised by the Department of Health (DOH). Meanwhile, funding for its construction will come from the annual General Appropriations Act.  Funding of P100 million will be set aside for the construction of the hospital. 

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