The national Kidney and Transplant Institute (NKTI) may have become a casualty of the multibillion development plan for the new Quezon City business district.
The hospital management on Tuesday cried foul over moves of the National Housing Authority (NHA) to sell portions of the land long occupied by NKTI to SM Development Corp. (SMDC) as part of the city’s proposed business hub.
“The stand of the NKTI is very, very simple: Stop the sale. We want to reiterate our legal right on the use of the land. The sale of the land is illegal,” the institute’s deputy director for medical services, Jose Dante Dator, told the Inquirer.
Dator said the sale threatens to ‘’choke” the operations of the hospital, which sits on a 58,599-sqm property currently valued by the NHA at around P45,000 per square meter.
Parking for patients and hospital staff, for example, will be a big problem, he said.
According to Dator, the NKTI had drawn up its own plans for the development of those areas, including the construction of a medical arts building, but the sale put these plans in jeopardy.
He said the NKTI learned of the then impending sale of two areas—one covering 8,402 square meters and the other 7,932 square meters—only through newspaper ads published by the NHA in September.
One of the two areas is currently used as parking space while the other is the subject of a dispute involving alleged illegal settlers.
Located on East Avenue and adjacent to Elliptical Road fronting Quezon Memorial Circle, the 250-bed NKTI is an attached agency of the Department of Health, operating as a government-owned and -controlled corporation.
In 1984 then President Ferdinand Marcos issued Presidential Proclamation No. 2381 excluding the property as a national government center site and reserving private rights to the NKTI as a “usufructuary,” Dator said. In civil law, a usufructuary is one who has the usufruct or the right of enjoying anything in which he has no property.
Dator insisted that NKTI continued to have the right to occupy the land. “They said they want to reclaim what is unoccupied space. But it’s a must that we have a parking lot. Where will doctors, patients, relatives, suppliers trying to keep operations park? Will they park on East Avenue?” he said.
The Inquirer tried to reach NHA general manager Chito Cruz on his office number but was told by his staff that he was not available. The agency’s information division also did not return calls when sought for comment.
The paper also sought a comment from SMDC, which was yet to reply at press time.
Dator also disclosed that until the publication of the Notices of Disposition, the NKTI and the NHA had been negotiating for the transfer of the land from the housing agency to the hospital.
“Several attempts to secure a separate land title were made by the previous directors of NKTI. However, NHA consistently refused to cede ownership without compensation,” he recalled.
The NHA asked the NKTI to pay the market value of the land at P45,000 to P50,000 per square meter, but the latter proposed instead to pay in terms of medical services to NHA workers.
Dator said the two agencies had actually come to a tacit agreement on the mode of payment. In a meeting in mid-2012, he recalled, “they all agreed we will negotiate and that the compensation will be in the form of medical services.”
Quezon City administrator Vic Endriga confirmed the sale, saying the two tracts of land were auctioned off by the NHA and that SMDC won the bidding.
In April, the city council approved an ordinance laying down a master plan for the central business district, a 250-hectare area composed of North Triangle, East Triangle and the Veterans Memorial Medical Center. The plan envisions five main sectors that will host commercial establishments, residential buildings, institutions, parks and recreational facilities. With reports from Jeannette Andrade and Doris Dumlao