The proposal of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (Provincial Board) to convince the relevant authorities to establish a “Specialty Center” in the province of Catanduanes is commendable, especially if the proposed law on this program is implemented.

Based on the proposed law that has passed both houses of Congress, this initiative will greatly contribute to the increase of healthcare workers in rural areas and provinces.

According to Senator Sonny Angara, instead of clustering nurses, doctors, and specialists in Metro Manila, they can now stay in their respective provinces to provide healthcare services.

As the sponsor of the Universal Healthcare Act, Senator Sonny aims to ensure that specialized medical treatment is accessible to all Filipinos, regardless of their location in the country.

The proposal to prioritize Catanduanes to have the Specialty Center on the island was advocated by Provincial Board Member (PBM) Jose Romeo ‘Sonny’ R. Francisco and was immediately supported by the members of the SP during the 23rd Regular Session on June 5, 2023.

PBM Francisco’s proposal is backed by three other resolutions that were passed in the SP. These resolutions seek the support of Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri and Committee on Health & Demography Chairperson, Senator Christopher Lawrence Go, to establish the said program in the province of Catanduanes.

PBM Francisco emphasized the importance of establishing a Specialty Center in Catanduanes due to its geographical location and limited access to quality healthcare services. Considering the population of approximately 271,879 based on the 2020 census, the challenges outlined in Section 5(b) of the Regional Specialty Act must be taken into account.

Because of these challenges, the province is in great need of such a program, especially since the island is far from mainland Bicol, and patients need to cross the sea to receive medical care.