First-ever OFW hospital to rise in Pampanga

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Manila—The Department of Labor and Employment will hold a groundbreaking ceremony in Pampanga on Labor Day (May 1) for the first-ever “OFW hospital” in the Philippines that will provide “free services” to overseas Filipino workers, a labor official said.

Labor Undersecretary Ana Dione said the establishment of the hospital and diagnostics center for workers was an initiative of Secretary Silvestre Bello III and meant to provide various free services for migrant workers, as well as their families and dependents, “in grateful recognition of their contribution to the growth of the economy.”

 “This is the concept of our Secretary Bello. The launch and groundbreaking of this hospital is on May 1. This will provide our OFWs and their dependents free hospital and other medical services,” Dione said.

 She said the hospital can provide free laboratory exam and the required medical certificates for those qualified workers.

 “The hospital will be exclusively for OFWs and their dependents. The plan is to provide them with free services when securing their medical certificates, covering laboratory exams and other basic requirements for their overseas deployment. We hope that this will also be honored by the host countries so we expect a quite extensive negotiation on this,” Dione added.

 The hospital will be financed by donations and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), with support from the Department of Health (DOH) and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR). Construction is expected to be completed in one and a half to two years, following the requisite documentation. The property where the hospital will rise is a donation from the provincial government of Pampanga.

Dione said the labor secretary will announce other details and services that will be offered by the OFW hospital on May 1.

 Aside from the groundbreaking of the OFW hospital, the labor the department will also lead simultaneous job and business fair in 31 sites across the country in the observance of the Labor Day with the theme ‘Pagpupugay sa Manggagawang Pilipino.’