Lady solon pushes creation of OFW Medical Center

TO extend medical services to the OFWs and their families, a lawmaker has filed a bill creating the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) Medical Center.

Rep. Ma. Theresa Bonoan-David (4th District, Manila) authored House Bill 6324 to provide the OFW community a hospital that will cater not only to the medical concerns of the OFWs and dependents but also to promote, encourage, and engage in scientific researches on the prevention, the care and treatment of common and recurring cases of sickness among OFW patients and related activities, including sponsorship and conduct of relevant congresses, conventions, seminars
and conferences.

“Being in a different country is quite difficult given the fact that access to medical privileges is not equally granted to non-citizens, not to mention the fact that the OFWs income in times of illnesses or diseases only goes directly to medical expenses leaving their families with nothing,” Bonoan-David said.

The measure shall create the OFW Medical Center to be administered by a Board of Trustees compose of seven members who will be appointed by the President of the Philippines.  The Director of the Center shall be appointed by the Board of Trustees.

“The six appointive members of the Board of Trustees shall serve without compensation for a period of four years until their successors shall have been appointed and qualified,” Bonoan-David said.

The Board shall be empowered, among others, to invite foreign medical specialists and similar experts in the various medical fields to train the personnel or trainees or residents of the OFW Medical Center.

“The Board shall send personnel of the OFW Medical Center to research and medical institutes or universities for advanced training or observation and to attend international or regional conventions, conferences, congresses, and seminars as the Board may deem necessary to accomplish the purpose and objectives of the OFW Medical Center,” Bonoan-David said.

Under the proposed measure, the amount of P500 Million is hereby appropriated as contribution of the National Government for the initial operations and maintenance of the OFW Medical Center, which shall be appropriated and included in the Annual General Appropriations Act.

The books and accounts of the OFW Medical Center shall be subject to periodic auditing by the Chairman of the Commission on Audit or his duly authorized representative.

The OFW Medical Center is exempted from income and gift taxes on all donations, contributions or endowments which may be made by entities or persons to the Center.

The OFW Medical Centers shall also be exempted from the payment of all taxes, charges and fees imposed by the government or any political subdivision or instrumentality for a period of ten years.

“Income of foreign doctors who shall use the facilities of the Center shall be tax exempt for a period of ten years from the date of issuance,” Bonoan-David said.

The Government shall contribute the necessary land, building equipment and facilities to the OFW Medical Center, and shall pay such obligations for real, personal, and mixed properties arising from undertaking under a deferred payment arrangement within five years, at a preferred rate of interest.

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