Smile charity, MVP offer to help CCMC

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Monday, May 26, 2014


OPERATION Smile, a non-profit humanitarian and medical relief organization, is willing to fund the construction of a new Cebu City Medical Center, a project estimated by the City Government to cost more than P1 billion.

This was disclosed by Mayor Michael Rama yesterday after he came back from his trip to the United States.

This, as businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan reportedly told Rama that he is willing to invest in the new hospital and proposed to co-manage the facility.

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For Operation Smile, Rama said he was able to present to the organization’s founders and officials last week what happened to the CCMC following the 7.2-magnitude quake in October last year and the plans for the new hospital.

Rama said they asked him how much the project will cost and he told them it would be at least P1.5 billion.

“They really would like to come in. They asked me how much is P1.5 billion in dollars.

But I told them don’t think of P1.5 billion yet, just P1 billion and they computed it and it’s $20 million,” Rama said. (Using yesterday’s exchange, the amount would be $22.8 million.)

Priorities

Officials of the organization, Rama said, then told to submit a detailed presentation for the construction of a new hospital and incorporate documentation and photos taken shortly after the earthquake.

Once the facility will be built, Rama said the organization wants it converted into a regional medical hub that will address eight medical issues. These include fistula, an abnormal connection that is formed between an organ, vessel or intestine; cleft lip and cleft palate; appendicitis and cataract.

“They are the usual medical problems in developing countries and Operation Smile wants to be part of the solution through CCMC,” he said.

Offered to help

Rama said that officials of Operation Smile will be coming to Cebu City sometime in June or July for a medical mission and to check the site for the new CCMC. They also want to see the operations of the current hospital housed in the Bureau of Fire Protection compound.

Aside from Operation Smile, Rama said he was able to meet with members of the Philippine Visayan Society in Las Vegas Nevada and they also vowed to help the City in building a new CCMC.

The mayor said they pledged to shoulder the cost of the construction of the second floor of the proposed 10-storey facility.

Rama said he will follow up on the matter when he goes back to Las Vegas in the coming months for a family reunion.

As for Pangilinan, Rama said he was able to have a meeting with him last Saturday when he arrived in Manila from the USA.

“It was a meeting I long wanted. I told him I am bringing you this situation where the hospital you want to buy has been declared inoperative and no longer functional. It is now ground zero because of an earthquake,” he said.

Co-management

Pangilinan, chairman of the Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC), had expressed interest to buy CCMC in 2008 yet. MPIC operates several hospitals in the country, including the Makati Medical Center, Cardinal Santos Medical Center, Davao Doctors’ Hospital and the Riverside Medical Center in Bacolod.

Rama then presented to Pangilinan the same presentation he delivered before Operation Smile.

The mayor said that Pangilinan is willing to invest in the new CCMC and wanted to co-manage the facility.

Rama answered that he would’ve only wanted Pangilinan to shoulder the construction of one floor of the new CCMC.

He said, though, he would have Pangilinan’s proposal studied.

Asked if co-management wouldn’t be a step toward CCMC’s privatization, Rama answered that there will definitely be no privatization.

“Whatever will be the arrangement, what we want is to give the best for the city’s constituents,” he added.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 27, 2014.

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