Margot O: Why wait? Funds available to build new hospital or renovate it | Inquirer News

Margot O: Why wait? Funds available to build new hospital or renovate it

/ 01:34 PM October 28, 2013

LET’S start building a new city hospital or retrofit the quake-damaged structure right away because funds are available, said Cebu City Councilor Margot Osmeña.

She said either of these options can be pursued immediately even as the “Piso Mo, Hospital Ko” fund-raising campaign of Mayor Michael Rama to raise P1.5 billion for a bigger facility continues.

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As chairman of the budget committee in the City Council, Osmeña cited reports of the city accountant and treasurer identifying P103 million available from the calamity fund.

Over 100 CCMC patients, mostly charity cases, had to be evacuated after the Oct. 15 earthquake.

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Many had to wait in tents or the lobby of the fire department for several days while transfer to private hospitals were negotiated by the city.

“Why should we allow CCMC patients to stay in makeshift structures and temporary shelters?” asked Osmeña in a statement.

“Please allow me to clarify and reiterate that I am not against the reconstruction of CCMC and the rebuilding of schools. In fact, I am saying there are funds that allow us to construct right away and not make our patients and students suffer longer,”she said.

Unexpended balance

“To get everything started, let’s just transfer the money from the General Fund to the Trust Funds and let the DEPW submit the needed POWE. How difficult can that be?,” she asked.

In her privilege speech last Wednesday, Osmeña said city accountant Josefina N. Gonzales and city treasurer Diwa Cuevas reported that Cebu City has P183 million available that can be used for rebuilding and repairing damaged buildings like the CCMC and public schools.

The amount is from the P 103 million unexpended balance of the 2012 calamity fund and about P80 million from the Special Education Fund (SEF), both of which have yet to be transferred from the General Fund to the Trust Funds.

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Osmeña said the P103 million can be used to start building a new CCMC to save time or choose the retrofitting option at a lesser cost as suggested by the city’s structural consultant and private contractors.

“Whatever the city decides, and I am not opposed to constructing a new, bigger and modern CCMC, I am proposing that since we have a total of P103 million of calamity funds available, then we can start building right away.”

The Department of Engineering and Public Works (DEPW) only needs a Program of Works and Estimates (POWE) to get everything started.

Osmeña said this can speed up a solution while the “piso-piso” fund raising campaign continues.

There is a separate P80 million form the Special Education Fund (SEF) that be used for the repair and construction of school buildings, she pointed out.

The SEF represents one percent (1%) of the proceeds from the Real Property Tax collected by the city.

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TAGS: building, Fund-raising, hospital, Margot Osmeña, News, Piso Mo Hospital Ko, renovation
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