Vice President Sara Duterte on Thursday stressed the importance of strengthening the country’s public health system to provide Filipinos, especially the poor, access to medical services.

In her keynote speech at the Philippine College of Surgeons Midyear Convention in Davao City, Duterte said that the country’s journey throughout the pandemic was an “eye-opener” to put premium priority on public health.

She said that the unavailability of basic health services in marginalized communities inspired the Office of the Vice President to establish a medical assistance program.

“I learned that there should be satellite offices in different areas to ensure that our countrymen would receive our help,” Duterte said.

The OVP has eight satellite offices outside Metro Manila. These are in the cities of Cauayan, Isabela, Dagupan, Bacolod, Tacloban, Cebu, Davao, Tandag, Surigao del Sur and Zamboanga.

Duterte said that the task of nation-building calls upon all Filipinos to work together and complement each other.

“This is one of the foundations of a resilient nation — one in which our people are interdependent, productive and capable of withstanding future crises,” she said.