DOH chief bares options for future of children’s hospital
It’s modernization, not privatization, which can happen in many ways.
This is what the Department of Health (DOH) has in mind for the Philippine Children’s Medical Center (PCMC) which has been operating for more than 30 years.
“Talk that PCMC is going to be privatized or that there’s going to be a housing project on the site has not been considered,” Health Secretary Enrique Ona said in a press briefing on Tuesday.
Since it opened in 1980, the government-run hospital has occupied a 3.8-hectare property owned by the National Housing Authority (NHA) at the corner of Agham Road and Quezon Avenue in Quezon City.
Recently, there were protests against a supposed move to privatize the hospital after it was reported that the NHA had sent it an eviction notice. This was followed by news that the PCMC would be relocated to the Lung Center of the Philippines (LCP) compound and housed in a new high-rise building.
NHA General Manager Chito Cruz, however, told reporters on Tuesday that PCMC would continue to occupy the lot it was standing on.
“As far as the NHA is concerned, this area is with PCMC and will remain with PCMC,” he said. “There is no plan to evict PCMC and to devote the area to other purposes.”
Ona said they were considering several options for the modernization of the hospital, including one presented two months ago by Dr. Vince Gomez, PCMC assistant director.
Under Gomez’s proposal, the hospital will buy the lot it stands on from the NHA for P1.1 billion. Two buildings will then be constructed to increase its capacity by 75 to 100 beds.
“We have options … We can build on the same site but the construction can disrupt [operations] as we will need to close half of the hospital so we have to really study this carefully,” Ona told reporters. Another option was to transfer the hospital to a new site.
A PCMC Modernization Task Force headed by Undersecretary Teodoro Herbosa has been formed to study the plan, he added.
A business case study must first be conducted, Ona said. Once the modernization plan is finalized, it will have to go through the prescribed approval process which usually takes a year. Upon approval, the procurement and bidding process for the design and construction stages will then start, taking around another year, followed by construction of the two buildings which is expected to take another three years, he added.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.