THE coronavirus pandemic has delayed the construction of the first hospital for overseas Filipino workers (OFW) in San Fernando City, Pampanga, but Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III was confident that it would still be completed before the end of 2021.
In a statement, Bello said the OFW Hospital in Barangay Sindalan was initially targeted to be completed in May 2021.
With the delay, he said they were hoping that it would be finished by December 2021.
"There were stoppages in construction works. But the hospital for our migrant workers would still be finished next year," Bello said.
He remained hopeful that the P1.3 billion project would be completed at an earlier time.
"I hope we can do our best to complete this wonderful project earlier. The sooner it is finished, the soonest we can help our OFWs," Bello said.
Once completed, he said the two-hectare, 200-bed medical facility will provide free medical services to the country’s OFWs.
"It will render free services when OFWs are securing medical certificates covering laboratory exams and other requirements for their overseas deployment," Bello added.
Construction of the OFW Hospital started in early 2020 after the local government of Pampanga donated a two-hectare property.
The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor), meanwhile, donated P200 million for the acquisition and installation of equipment and facilities for the hospital, while the Bloomberry Cultural Foundation shouldered the cost of construction amounting to P400 million. (HDT/SunStar Philippines)