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PIA Press Release
2008/03/13

Call to invest in medical tourism to reap economic benefits later

Davao City (13 March) -- A solon urges the government to support the medical tourism potential of the country to reap its economic benefits.

Congressman Ruffy Biazon, the proponent of House Bill 49, is pushing for the creation of a Medical Tourism Bureau within the Department of Health (DOT) to formulate policies relative to the development of the industry, implement plans and programs, coordinate and supervise all activities of the government concerning health and wellness or medical tourism.

The legislative measure designates DOT to facilitate the simplification of procedures and regulations for the availment of medical services by foreign tourists, returning OFWs and other Filipinos from abroad. More importantly, it shall formulate standards for health and wellness-oriented establishments to ensure that facilities, personnel and services are maintained in accordance with local and international norms in operations of tourism-oriented establishments.

Biazon's proposal aims to address the confusion in the functions of eleven government agencies that comprised the Philippine Medical Tourism Program created by EO 372 by different agencies pertinent to the PMTP in one office.

Cognizant of the role that DOT has played in the promotion of the medical tourism industry prior to the organization of the PMTP, Biazon believes that the department's marketing and promotional efforts have slowly but steadily reaped gains for the country.

On April 4-6, 2008, Congressman Biazon will join the DOT and a number of delegates from Philippine hospitals in attending the 3rd World Health Tourism Congress (WHTC) in Costa del Sol, Spain. WHTC is an international platform for healthcare providers to create business opportunities with the biggest healthcare buyers around the world. It is the only event in the world targeting corporate buyers of healthcare who are looking for medical institutions overseas where they can send their patients.

Aside from the business opportunity that the conference offers for the country, the Philippine delegation that includes Cong. Biazon will be attending in preparation for the country's hosting of the 2009 World Health Tourism Congress.

"We hope to do our homework first before we can really put out the Open for Business sign for medical tourism. Exposure to the global market and trends will equip us with the proper knowledge to help our medical tourism industry. This industry after all is a serious business that entails investment in infrastructure and training of our medical practitioners, Biazon said."

"As a legislator, I would like to know how else I can assist the strengthening of the industry because the advancement in the medical tourism industry has three important implications; the acceleration of socio-economic development, foreign exchange income and a stop to the exodus of our medical professionals, Biazon added." (Office of Congressman Biazon/PIA) [top]

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