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Albay’s medical center has been upgraded to a general hospital, according to Salceda.

House Bill 8228, which would upgrade the Bicol Regional Training and Teaching Hospital (BRTTH), has been approved by the Senate without alteration.

The proposal’s major author and sponsor, Albay Rep. Joey Salceda, stated in a statement on Thursday that the BRTTH in Daraga, Albay will be turned into a general and subspecialty hospital called the Bicol Regional Hospital and Medical Center (BRHMC), with expanded bed capacity from 250 to 800.

“This will fulfill a long-held desire for Albayanos to have access to high-quality, inexpensive medical care for all medical needs within their province,” Salceda said.

He also complimented President Rodrigo Duterte “for his unwavering support for the BRTTH,” as well as Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go for “pushing the bill through the Senate promptly.”

“Without the strong support of the national government, this would not have happened.” “I also want to express my gratitude to the Senate and House leadership for moving this bill forward,” Salceda said.

He added that, with the President’s strong support, a long-held dream to modernize the BRTTH was reinforced in 2018.

A Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) ward, modernized equipment worth PHP580 million, a trauma emergency department, Bicol Cancer Institute, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) center are now part of the BRTTH.

“We’re also establishing a 600-bed hospital and a Bicol Regional Heart Center,” Salceda said during his recent sponsorship speech before the Senate Committee on Health, where he again emphasized the BRTTH’s importance to the Bicol Region.

“The BRTTH is the Bicol Region’s Philippine General Hospital (PGH).” It serves as the teaching hospital for the Bicol University College of Medicine, which is one of the country’s first public medical schools outside of the University of the Philippines System to provide free tuition to a large number of its students. The BRTTH enables BU-CM (Bicol University-College of Medicine) to create doctors who are “equipped for the real-world difficulties of public health and medicine in a developing country,” according to the congressman.

The BRTTH is also Albay’s coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) treatment facility, according to him. “He described it as “the pulsating core of our pandemic response.”

Salceda anticipates the Senate passing the bill on the third reading next week.

“I believe the Senate will pass this bill on final reading next week, allowing us to complete this before President Duterte’s tenure ends.” We’re banking on fellow Albayano Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri to help us get the bill on the table for passage before the recess,” he stated.

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