Mayor’s CCMC game plan-A A +A
Friday, October 25, 2013
DEAR Deputy Ombudsman for the Visayas Pelagio Apostol Jr.:
Last week on my way to work, I was surprised to see a parked heavy equipment (backhoe) along Vicente Urgello St. That particular section of the road used to be flooded easily every time it rained but not after huge culverts were installed by the city. The road itself was in good condition. So what was the backhoe doing there?
When I saw diggings on the road later that day, more questions arose: What project was under way? Wasn’t the activity prohibited because we’re in an election campaign?
Wednesday, the backhoe disappeared. But the street is no longer the same. A good part of it has been destroyed.
Since no one is telling us what happened, I am requesting for your Office’s assistance. And if the circumstances warrant conducting a formal investigation, please consider this as a formal complaint.
When I came to Cebu in 1967, the Cebu City Hospital was located at the corner of Colon and Mabini streets. A few years later, it was transferred to the old South Expressway. In 1994, it was renamed the Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC).
The CCMC was one of the casualties in the destructive Oct. 15 earthquake. Although it remains standing, structural engineers have concluded that it can collapse anytime.
The building has been condemned for demolition. The CCMC’s odyssey resumes.
Mayor Michael Rama plans to build a more modern and sturdier edifice. Where, they’re still debating. It is most likely still going to be in Natalio Bacalso Ave. (the South Expressway’s new name) although there are suggestions to relocate it to the South Road Properties (SRP) or to the old public market in F. Ramos St.
Dr. Billy Jaca, an eye specialist, says that F. Ramos is ideal because the area is relatively quieter and it is closer to other hospitals like Velez, Cebu Community, Chong Hua, Cebu Doctors and Vicente Sotto.
Anyway, wherever it is going to be built, Rama already has a budget in mind: one billion pesos. And apparently, he has no intention of begging for it from the city council. Instead, he will source the money from voluntary contributions.
Early this week, he launched the “Piso Mo Hospital Ko” fund drive. Plastic jars have been deployed in strategic areas in the city for people to drop their coins and paper bills into as their contributions to the fund. The response has been described as overwhelming but how long will it take to raise P1 billion that way?
It is heartwarming to hear ordinary citizens earnestly declare that they adopt Rama’s idea as their own. The concept of an engaged Cebuano community working together to restore an institution that has served the health needs of the city’s poor people is romantic and enthralling. But I doubt if we can actually realize that dream without having to tap the city’s coffers.
Maybe, that is the mayor’s game plan: to generate massive public support for rebuilding the hospital and shame the city council into providing the money. If it is, even his critics should concede that it is a brilliant idea.
But the majority councilors can escape the trap that Rama has sprung upon them by declaring that they are for re-building the city hospital and will appropriate the money for the purpose. They can even make a show of requiring him to immediately submit his program of works and estimates for their consideration because time is of the essence since the health of the city’s poor residents cannot wait.
But the plan might entail selling portions of the SRP. Are they willing to do it?
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 25, 2013.