THE Bacolod City Council has approved on third and final reading ordinance for the development of health and wellness industry in the city.

The ordinance authored by councilor Jocelle Batapa-Sigue seeks to complement the Philippines’s thrust to be the biggest medical tourism and wellness destination in Asia with the economic and social benefits of being a major player in the globalization of healthcare in the 21st century.

Sigue said the ordinance challenges Bacolod today to look at the three different health and wellness clusters that the Philippines has to offer the medical tourism cluster composed of modern, high-tech and world-class hospitals and medical centers, which are staffed by the most competent doctors and medical professionals; the retirement cluster which includes retirement villages, nursing homes and hospitals; and the wellness cluster which includes spas, holistic therapies, traditional Filipino massage and complementary medicine.

She noted that in a 2006, the study of Globalysis, it appeared that the value of the world’s health and wellness tourism industry is $40 billion and this is projected to soar to $60 billion in 2012, indicating that health and wellness is the fastest growing segment of the tourism industry. The Asian market alone consists of 1.5 million medical tourists, spending a daily average of $362 compared with the $144 of regular inbound visitors.

She said Bacolod is well-positioned for the growth of wellness industry with the growing number of health spa and medical spas in the city that now provides jobs to almost 500 Negrenses, adding that the ordinance classifies the health and wellness tourism market for Bacolod to several segments such medical tourism, wellness and spas, nursing and elderly care, research and diagnostic services, health and organic products and alternative modalities.

Opda office

The City Council also approved ordinance creating the office of persons with disability affairs (Opda) authored by councilor Homer Bais.

He said the ordinance calls for local authorities and other bodies within the public and private sectors to implement national measures contained in the World Program of Action which concerns about the disabled persons.

Proclamation 240, or the proclamation of the year 200-2013 as the Philippine Decade of Disabled Persons, directs all local government units at the national and national local levels to develop and implement programs and activities that will encourage active participation of persons with disabilities in social and economic activities in their communities, cited Bais.

He added that the Local Government Code of 1991 mandates that “local government units shall endeavor to be self-reliant and shall discharge the functions and responsibilities of national agencies and offices devolved to them.”

Further, Bais said that Article 2 of said ordinance stated: “There shall be created an office of persons with disability affairs that will coordinate all the activities and implement plans, programs including but not limited to providing assistance to the problems, concerns and issues of PWDs, gathering of data of PWDs including the directory of NGOs, Pos and the like and projects formulated and approved b the City Council for the welfare of disabled persons (CCWDP).” (MAP)