MANILA - Sen. Risa Hontiveros on Tuesday urged the national government to submit a breakdown of how it spent some P9 billion for makeshift hospitals and isolation facilities under the country's second COVID-19 aid package as Metro Manila hospitals seek aid to cater to thousands of new patients daily.
Under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Bayanihan 2), P9 billion is allocated to fund hospitals catering to COVID-19 patients, Hontiveros said in a statement.
"Our health workers and our patients need full support. There is no excuse as to why we are holding back from giving them the best that their lives depend on," she said.
"Sobrang puno na yung mga ospital natin, ginawang emergency room na 'yung tents," she said.
(Our hospitals are already so full that tents are already being used as emergency rooms.)
Hontiveros also called on the national government to upgrade its One Hospital Command Center (OHCC) - a hotline meant to refer patients to hospitals - as it remains "unreachable" due to the "basic set up" of its system.
"The OHCC could have easily harnessed the capabilities of our world-class BPOs. Filipinos answer the phones when the world calls. We don't deserve these busy signals," she said.
"With the billions in funding we have available, that is nothing but another lazy copout," she said.
Last week, a Department of Health official said that the OHCC has been "swamped with many calls and we don’t have the technology of call forwarding."
Since new COVID-19 cases spiked in March, the command center has been receiving up to 300 calls per day, about 5 times the usual number of calls it received last year, according to data from the DOH.