Koronadal City, South Cotabato – Just like the education sector’s “Zero Collection Policy”, Governor Reynaldo S. Tamayo, Jr., on his first day of office last July 1, 2019, deliberately mandated the “Zero Billing Policy” to all government hospitals under the management of the Provincial Government of South Cotabato (PGSC).
These hospitals are the South Cotabato Provincial Hospital (SCPH), the Norala District Hospital (NDH), the Polomolok Municipal Hospital (PMH), and the Upper Valley Community Hospital (UVCH) which is now the SOCCSKSARGEN General Hospital (SGH).
All medical services in these mentioned hospitals – from the medical consultation of outpatients to the caesarean delivery of birthing mothers and all other surgical procedures that these government hospitals are capable of performing – have been free of charge since Governor Tamayo assumed office.
The PGSC has intentionally provided a computed tomography (CT) scan machine which is also being utilized for free. CT scan machines are very important in the operation of the hospitals, since these can detect bone and joint problems like complex bone fractures and tumors. If a patient has a condition like cancer, heart disease, emphysema, or liver masses, CT scans can spot it or help doctors see any changes. Additionally, they show internal injuries and bleeding such as those caused by a car accident.
The governor also proudly announced the upcoming opening of the province’s Dialysis Center which will cater to patients with kidney problems. He stated that the center’s operation was supposed to begin on the third quarter of the year 2020, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there were delays in the delivery of the equipment and on the renovation of the hospital where these machines will be placed.
“Pero pinasisiguro ko sa inyo na hindi na aabot ng Mayo ngayong taon magfu-full implementation na tayo sa dialysis center ng probinsya. Ang sampung dialysis equipment ay magiging libre para sa ating mga kababayan,” the governor reported.
In the same way, Governor Tamayo has ordered the purchase of additional brand-new ambulance vehicles for the province’s government hospitals, through the 20% Local Development Fund. These ambulance vehicles are currently being used for free by the patients wherever they will be transported, even outside South Cotabato.
“Nag dagdag tayo ng ambulance sa mga hospital natin. Isa sa Polomolok, isa sa Norala, at isa para naman sa Provincial Hospital. May parating pa na isa mula sa PCSO (Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office). Upang mapasiguro na ang patient transport natin, kahit Koronadal hanggang Davao ay dapat walang bayad. Hinding-hindi ko gusto na kahit pang kunswelo sa driver ay nagbibigay ang pamilya ng pasyente.”
Four (4) units of these ambulance and rescue vehicles are reserved for the free transportation and transfer of patients from their respective barangays to the hospitals in cases of emergency.
On a separate note, the governor, during his State of the Province Address (SOPA), thanked the national government, particularly President Rodrigo R. Duterte, for the launching of the Malasakit Center in South Cotabato. Its office which is located in the SCPH is the 80th in the country, and the third in Region XII.
Malasakit Center is a one-stop shop where Filipinos, particularly the poor and the indigent, can ask for financial and medical assistance from the Department of Health (DOH), the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) and the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO). The Office of the President downloads a total of five million pesos (P5M) every month for South Cotabato alone.