While a lot of people have this notion that overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are rich, this is not entirely true. Many OFWs do have good salaries abroad, yet a lot actually earn just enough for their family’s needs. Many of them are still deep in debt because their employers don’t give their wages properly.
With the many sacrifices that OFWs have to undergo for their families as well as the fact that they are helping the country’s economy, many believe that they should have the privilege of getting free medical services and other perks from the Philippine government.
The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) announced on Thursday that a special hospital will be built in San Fernando, Pampanga. This hospital will cater to the needs of OFWs, offering them free medical services.
The hospital will provide free laboratory exams and required medical certificates to OFWs. Aside from OFWs, the hospital will also cater to their qualified dependents, said Labor Undersecretary Ana Dione.
“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 announced.
“This is the concept of our Secretary [Silvestre] 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.”
Once the documents, plans, and legalities are processed, construction will start. The DOLE expects that the hospital construction will be completed in about 1.5 to 2 years.
The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) will help with the budget needs of the OFW hospital. The construction will also be partly funded by private donations and with the support of the Department of Health (DOH) and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR).
The provincial government of Pampanga is in charge of the lot procurement for the planned OFW Hospital.