Bigger, better: Mindanaoan lawmakers seek upgrade of Basilan General Hospital


By Billy Begas

Mindanaoan lawmakers have filed a resolution seeking to convert and upgrade the 25-bed capacity Basilan General Hospital (BGH) to a tertiary hospital, one that is equipped to treat more serious illnesses such as severe cases of COVID-19.

In filing House Bill 10382, Deputy Speaker and Basilan Rep. Mujiv Hataman, and Anak Mindanao party-list Rep. Amihilda Sangcopan underscored the importance of improving healthcare services in the province.

“Marami tayong nakakalungkot na karanasan kung saan ang marami sa ating mga kababayan sa Basilan ang binabawian ng buhay habang nasa bangka o lantsa papunta sa mas malaki at mas magandang pagamutan tulad ng Zamboanga City Medical Center,” Hataman lamented.

In the whole of Basilan, there are only six hospitals – four in Isabela City and two in Lamitan City – and all of them are Level 1.

Level 1 hospitals have no ICUs, and are only equipped to treat patients who need minor care. Level 2 hospitals have ICUs, while Level 3 hospitals have high-level specialty interventions such as dialysis treatment.

“With this measure, we endeavor to bring quality healthcare services closer not just to the Basileños but also to the whole of Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi (BASULTA) region as part of further strengthening our frontlines against the COVID-19 pandemic,” the explanatory note of the measure read.

Hataman noted that BGH’s capacity was supposed to increase to 100 beds under Republic Act 8543 that was passed by the 10th Congress in 1998, but somehow the law was not implemented until now.

The bill also seeks to increase the medical manpower complement of BGH according to the bed capacity, consistent with the requirements of modern medical services and state-of-the-science equipment and technology.