THE building of the country's first Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) Hospital is expected to be completed in March 2022, according to Labor Secretary Bebot Bello who visited the facility this Friday, January 14, with former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

The project had its groundbreaking in February of 2021 under the leadership of Senator Bong Go.

The project is to support OFWs along with the establishment of the Department of Migrant Workers based on the law signed by President Duterte in December.

The OFW Hospital is being co-built by the Department of Labor and Employment, Department of Health, Bloomberry Cultural Foundation Inc. of Bloomberry Resorts Corp., Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) and Pampanga Provincial Government.

The hospital, which initially cost P500 million and is located in PEO Compound in Barangay Sindalan in the City of San Fernando, is for all OFWs in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

It can be recalled that to ensure continued funding of the facility, particularly the provision of adequate staff, former president and Second District Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo appealed to House members from Central Luzon and the chairpersons of the committees on health and labor to author a bill creating it.

"As recommended by the Department of Budget and Management, a law is needed for the continued funding of this OFW Hospital and Diagnostic Center," Arroyo said in an interview in 2019.

Similar facilities will be built in Visayas and Mindanao.

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 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.

The hospital, with its 100-bed capacity, is expected to provide medical services to OFWs and their immediate family members.