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Solons ask Aquino to donate land, avert ‘eviction’ of children’s hospital

/ 12:42 AM September 19, 2013

HOMELESS ‘CHILDREN’? The government-run hospital may need a presidential act to keep its place in Diliman, Quezon City. MARIANNE BERMUDEZ

The Philippine Children’s Medical Center (PCMC), which could lose the Quezon City property where it has stood for over three decades, earned the support of a group of congressmen who called on President Aquino to just donate the government land to the hospital.

A group of independent lawmakers in the House of Representatives, led by Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, has filed a resolution urging the President to issue a presidential proclamation to effect the land donation.

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The PCMC earlier received a notice from the National Housing Authority (NHA) directing it to buy the property it has been occupying for nearly 34 years. The property was priced at P1.1 billion.

In an Inquirer report last week, the PCMC administration described the NHA order as tantamount to an eviction notice. The NHA had constantly invoked fund-raising for the relocation of informal settlers in justifying its P1.1-billion demand from the PCMC, which is located within the National Government Center in Diliman.

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In their resolution, the lawmakers noted that the PCMC had long been requesting the national government to either donate the land or help finance its purchase so that the hospital would be its registered owner.

They noted that previous Presidents had also donated government land to the Office of the Ombudsman and the Court of Tax Appeals, consisting of portions of 6.3 hectares then occupied by the PCMC.

Because of these donations, PCMC’s 6.3 ha had gone down to 3.7 ha, they said.

Donating the land to the PCMC would enable it to continue fulfilling its mandate as well as support constitutional policies on public health, according to the lawmakers. They noted that the hospital treats about 60,000 patients a year, many of them from poor families.

“The State should donate the land that the hospital presently occupies to the PCMC in order that it can fully fulfill its objectives without the threat of eviction by the NHA,” they said in their resolution.

Such an act by Mr. Aquino would be “pursuant to the constitutional policies of the 1987 Constitution” and ensure that health services would be “available to all at affordable cost (and) the needs of the underprivileged, sick, elderly, disabled, women and children would be prioritized.”

According to its website, the PCMC is not only a government-run provider of pediatric care but also a center for training and clinical research.

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TAGS: Aquino Administration, Children, Government hospital, hospital, PCMC, Philippine Children’s Medical Center, President Aquino
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