Creation of OFW Hospital approved

The House Committee on Ways and Means, chaired by Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda (2nd District, Albay), on Monday approved House Bill No. (HB) 168 which seeks the creation of a hospital for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

Authored by Rep. Angelina Tan (4th District, Quezon), the proposed “Overseas Filipino Workers Hospital Act” aims to provide better access to and higher quality of healthcare for OFWs.

The committee specifically approved Section 7, the tax exemption provision of the bill, which states that all grants, bequests, endowments, donations and contributions made to the OFW Hospital to be used actually, directly and exclusively by the OFW Hospital shall be exempt from donor’s tax and considered as allowable deduction from the gross income of the donor, in accordance with the provisions of the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997, as amended.

It further states that the importation of equipment, machinery and spare parts which are used solely and exclusively for the operation of the OFW Hospital, not available locally, shall be exempt from value-added tax and customs duty.

In her sponsorship speech, Tan, Chairperson of the Committee on Health, said the creation of a tertiary level OFW Hospital is a landmark legislation and recognition for the protection of the well-being of the OFWs.

“This is also an acknowledgement and appreciation of the undeniable contribution of our OFWs in our economic development and nation-building,” she said.

Tan further said that the OFW Hospital shall serve as a comprehensive and primary healthcare referral facility within the ambit of the healthcare provider network as mandated by the Universal Health Care Act to all migrant workers, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) contributors, and their legal dependents.

The OFW Hospital shall likewise serve as a facility for would-be OFWs in the conduct of their physical and mental medical examinations as a requirement for overseas employment, she said.

The bill has been consolidated with House Bill 440 authored by Rep. Strike Revilla (2nd District, Cavite) and HB 2728 by Rep. Rufus Rodriguez (2nd District, Cagayan de Oro City).