Salceda sees upgrade of BRTTH to gen hospital

By Connie Calipay


A proposed law upgrading the Bicol Regional Training and Teaching Hospital (BRTTH) “is almost certain” as the Senate has approved without amendment House Bill 8228.


Albay 2nd District Rep. Joey Salceda, the bill’s principal author and sponsor, said the BRTTH located in Daraga, Albay will be converted into a general and sub-specialty hospital to be known as the Bicol Regional Hospital and Medical Center (BRHMC) with higher bed capacity from 250 to 800.


“This will realize a longstanding dream among Albayanos to have quality affordable medical care for every medical need, and to have access to it within their province,” Salceda said.


He also thanked President Rodrigo Duterte “for his continuous support for the BRTTH,” and Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go “for moving the measure quickly in the Senate.”


“This would not have happened without the strong support of the national government. I also thank the Senate and House leaderships for moving this bill forward,” Salceda added.


He recalled that in 2018, a longstanding dream to modernize the BRTTH, with the strong support of the President, was reaffirmed.


The BRTTH now includes a PhilHealth ward, modern medical equipment worth P580 million, a trauma emergency room, Bicol Cancer Institute, and a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) center.


"We now also have a 600-bed capacity hospital building under construction and a Bicol Regional Heart Center,” Salceda said during his recent sponsorship speech in the Senate Committee on Health, where he also highlighted the importance of the BRTTH to the Bicol region.


“The BRTTH is the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) of the Bicol region. It is the training hospital for the Bicol University College of Medicine, which is one of the first state medical schools in this country outside the University of the Philippines System to offer free tuition to a significant share of its students. The BRTTH allows us BU-CM (Bicol University-College of Medicine) to produce doctors who are prepared for the real-life challenges of public health and medicine in a developing country,” the Albay lawmaker added.


He also said the BRTTH is Albay’s Covid-19 treatment facility. "It is the beating heart of our pandemic response,” he said.


Salceda expects that the Senate will approve the measure on the third reading by next week.


“I think the Senate will approve this measure on final reading next week so that we can get this done before President Duterte’s term ends. We are counting on Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, a fellow Albayano, to help us make sure the bill is on the table for approval before the break,” he said. (PNA)