THE Cebu City Government inaugurated yesterday the P84.5-million North District Hospital building in the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC), which adds 130 beds to the public facility.
The 130 beds in the four-story building form part of the increase in VSMMC’s capacity from 800 to 1,200 beds, under Republic Act (RA) 10770.
The law, enacted last April 16, was principally authored by Rep. Raul del Mar (Cebu City, north). He first worked to upgrade the hospital’s bed capacity last June 22, 1998 from 400 to 800 beds, through RA 8658.
“His continuous efforts in upgrading VSMMC’s capacity have greatly contributed to making the hospital the biggest government-run tertiary, teaching/training medical center in the region,” said VSMMC medical director Dr. Gerardo Aquino in a speech.
But Congressman del Mar, in an interview, said it was his daughter, former north district congresswoman Rachel “Cutie” del Mar, who initiated the project in 2011.
Work on the project formally started last Dec. 19, 2011 and ended last Aug. 28 of this year.
Apart from the ongoing installation of its passenger elevator, the hospital is now 91 percent done and ready to accommodate constituents.
Del Mar said that with the hospital building connected to VSMMC, the facility’s personnel will be readily available to help those in need of treatment.
He, however, clarified that while the hospital was built for constituents in the north district, it is not exclusively for them.
“All the constituents of Cebu City can avail of medical assistance here. We are one, after all. This stronger partnership will raise to a higher level of expanded medical services our medical assistance program, which has already benefited more than 117,150 of our poor constituents, enriching their quality of life. Truly, health is wealth,” he said.
Mayor Tomas Osmeña, who also attended yesterday’s event, for his part, said the “long delayed” hospital will be helpful to the people of the city, given the ongoing construction of the Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC).
“This is for the people of Cebu. It’s long delayed. Look at (former mayor Michael) Rama, he demolished CCMC. To fix it would have cost only P30 million, but now we’ve spent hundreds of millions and we still don’t have CCMC. This is just an example of so many things I have to do,” he said in a separate interview.
City Hall demolished the old CCMC building after the October 2015 earthquake damaged it severely. Work on the new CCMC is ongoing.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 10, 2016.
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