What will it take for NHA to donate land to children’s hospital?
MANILA, Philippines — The National Housing Authority (NHA) expressed readiness on Tuesday to donate to the Philippine Children’s Medical Central (PCMC) the 3.7-hectare land it is currently occupying in Quezon City but which belongs to the NHA if the President would issue a proclamation.
NHA General Manager Chito Cruz gave this commitment during the hearing of the Senate committee on health on the long contested land being occupied by the PCMC.
“…If the President issues a proclamation where NHA will donate it to the PCMC, you will abide?” asked Senator Loren Legarda.
“Yes of course,” Cruz said.
“So we call on the President to donate the land to the PCMC…,” said Legarda, who received applause from the crowd inside the hearing room.
When also asked by Senator Teofisto Guingona III, chairman of the committee, if the NHA would also comply should the Department of Justice issue a legal opinion , saying that it would be ok to give the property to the PCMC, Cruz answered yes.
“Ok. We have two options now. One is a presidential proclamation which you said you would comply. Second, a DOJ opinion and third is law… ” Guingona said but quick to add that the third option would be a long process as it would have to go through approval of both chambers of Congress.
But Cruz said the fourth option was for the Senate to simply give the PCMC a budget so it could settle its obligations with the NHA.
Interviewed by reporters after the hearing, Guingona said he would talk to Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to come up with a legal opinion on the issue before Christmas.
“Yes kakausapin natin si Sec. De Lima para before Christmas malabas na ‘yung ruling na para sa PCMC na ‘yung lupa (I will talk to Sec. De Lima before Christmas so that the ruling that the land is for the PCMC will come out in time),” he said.
Guingona said the PCMC should not be evicted from its current location for the sake of the thousands of poor patients who benefit from it.
The PCMC has been occupying the land for 34 years before the NHA demanded it to purchase the estate for P1.1 billion.
The PCMC treats over 60,000 patients annually, most of whom come from poor families. Paying patients are only allocated 70 of 260 hospital beds, what with the yearly increase in the rate of impoverished or service patients.
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