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Health sector needs BBB-style boost– Hataman

By Ellson Quismorio

Basilian lone district Rep. Mujiv Hataman is the latest House official to urge government to restart “Build, Build, Build (BBB)” efforts once quarantine rules allow it, but his appeal is specifically geared toward propping up the overloaded health sector.

ARMM Bureau of Public Information

House Deputy Speaker and Basilan lone district Rep. Mujiv Hataman (ARMM Bureau of Public Information via Facebook / MANILA BULLETIN/ FILE)

According to the Deputy Speaker, BBB on the health front is needed to increase the inventory of hospital beds amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

BBB refers to the Duterte administration’s flagship infrastructure modernization program which covers big-ticket projects such as the Mindanao railway and the Metro Manila subway.

Hataman noted that the Philippines has 89,000 hospital beds, or one for every 1,121 Filipinos–a lopsided ratio.

“Half of these beds are in Metro Manila. We have less than 1,000 ICU (Intensive Care Unit) beds for a country of 107 million,” pointed out the former governor of the now-defunct Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

“So nakikita natin ang pagkukulang kung sakaling lumala pa ang [pandemya]. Ito ang kailangan nating solusyunan sa mga susunod na araw (We see a shortage in the event that the pandemic gets worse. We have to address this in the coming days),” he said.

The Philippines on Wednesday reached a grim milestone as its confirmed cases of COVID-19 breached the 10,000-mark. For context, the country only had 10 recorded cases of the deadly disease last March 8.

Hataman earlier called for the upgrade of all Level 1 hospitals to either a Level 2 or 3 in anticipation of a lengthy battle against COVID-19, saying all projections point to a further increase in cases within the year while the development of a vaccine is still beyond the horizon.

He said Level 1 hospitals are not equipped to treat life-threatening cases as they do not have ICUs.

“This is also the time to furnish our hospitals and clinics with equipment and staff them with personnel whose salary we should not scrimp on, for these professionals are essential for our survival,” Hataman said.

“Panahon na para pagtuunan natin ng focus ang ating mga ospital at buhusan ng ating suporta (It’s time to focus on our hospitals and pour our support to them),” he added.

Source: Manila Bulletin (

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