DUMANGAS, Iloilo -- Gov. Arthur Defensor Sr. reminded hospital personnel in the province of Iloilo to always prioritize the needs of the poor every time they seek medical attention.
"Our hospitals were built for the poor and not for the rich, therefore, you must attend to the poor first," Defensor said during the inauguration of an annex building at the Ramon Duremdes District Hospital in Dumangas, Iloilo on July 19, 2017.
"Let us take care of the poor. Never mind the rich, they can take care of themselves," the governor stressed before doctors, nurses and other hospital workers.
He said if a patients is poor, there is more reason for the provincial government to attend to that patient because he or she cannot afford to pay. "The poor go to us because they cannot afford private hospital care. They are already in distress, and there is no reason why we should add more to their anxiety by requiring them to really pay when they don't have any money," Defensor said. He said his leadership has been finding means to improve hospital care in the province of Iloilo, which includes asking for assistance from the Department of Health and the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA). The DOH, under its Health Facilities Enhancement Program, funded the repair and upgrading of the annex building of the RDDH at the cost of P12 million. It will be made into a ward complex. Defensor noted that the hospital in Dumangas was established in the 1960s to address the medical needs of the poor there. It was then Dumangas Mayor Ramon Duremdes who urged Rep. Ricardo Ladrido to author a law for the establishment of the hospital because his car then always doubled as an ambulance. During that time, Duremdes was the one of the few who owned a vehicle in Dumangas, said the former mayor's grandson, Philip Duremdes Doromal. On June 20, 1963, President Diosdado Macapagal signed Republic Act No. 3520 converting the town's puericulture center into the Dumangas Emergency Hospital. It was one of the 12 hospitals devolved to the provincial government of Iloilo following the enactment of Republic Act No. 7160 or the Local Government Code of 1991. On July 22, 2014, it was renamed Ramon Duremdes District Hospital following the approval of Provincial Ordinance No. 2014-111 which was subsequently confirmed by the DOH through License to Operate No. 06-468-14-H1-1.