Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri has introduced a resolution calling for a committee investigation into the insufficient medical facilities and shortage of health professionals in major tourist destinations throughout the Philippines.

He filed Senate Resolution No. 93, which aims to facilitate the creation of laws that guarantee easy access to comprehensive medical services in prominent tourist locations across the country.

“Ensuring access to adequate health and medical services in tourist destinations should go hand-in-hand with our country’s efforts to promote and develop our tourism industry. As such, it is important to study and identify the issues and address the gaps to come up with further solutions,” his resolution reads.

“Access to adequate medical care and well-equipped hospitals in tourist destinations remains a problem, with health and safety still among the main concerns of tourists traveling to the Philippines,” it added.

Zubiri emphasized the need for a comprehensive law to address the gaps in medical infrastructure, particularly the concerns raised during a meeting with members of the Consular Corps, who highlighted lack of health facilities in areas like Coron, Palawan.

“How can we invite tourists to enjoy the dive spots and beautiful beaches here and promote it as a center for diving… when we do not have facilities when accidents happen?” Zubiri questioned in an earlier Senate session.

The senator specifically pointed out an incident in 2015 where 25-year-old tourist Miguel Gabriel Ruiz lost his life in Coron after allegedly stepping on a sea urchin.

The Ruiz family expressed their dismay over the lack of sufficient medical infrastructure and trained personnel in the province, emphasizing that timely intervention could have potentially saved Miguel’s life.

Another incident mentioned by Zubiri involved the son of journalist Karen Davila, who suffered surfing injuries in Siargao in 2018.

The family faced challenges in obtaining appropriate first aid and timely medical care due to the absence of nearby medical facilities with the nearest hospital being located 45 minutes away.

In the resolution, Zubiri proposed that hospitals in these areas should be “renationalized” and designated as regional hospitals.

He envisions these facilities, under the supervision of the Department of Health, to be outfitted with advanced medical equipment, serving both international and local tourists, as well as the local populace.