DAVAO Medical Center is all set to formally take on its new name, "Southern Philippines Medical Center," by August, said hospital chief Dr. Leopoldo Vega on Thursday.

Vega said DMC's renaming is covered by House Bill 2320, which was signed into law last December 2009.

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"We'll formally announce the new name in August being that month is the anniversary of the hospital. We'll be unveiling a huge name at the front of the hospital," Vega said in an interview in his office.

The bill, entitled "An act changing the name of the Davao Medical Center in Davao City to the Southern Philippines Medical Center," aims to increase the hospital’s bed capacity from 600 to 1,200; upgrade its service facilities and professional health care; authorize the increase of its medical personnel; and appropriate funds therefore.

DMC is also renovating its covered walk, second and third floors, but Vega clarified that this has no relation to the provisions of the bill.

"The bill was just coincidental. We've been slowly renovating the hospital for two years. You have to understand that we are functioning at a 202 percent capacity. We have 750 patients coming in and out every day and each patient has about two to three other persons accompanying them," Vega said.

He added that the hospital has to fix the basics. “We have to improve the environment and the services to provide what we can give best to our patients. DMC is also the hospital in the region that receives the complicated cases."

An estimate of P30 million has been spent for DMC's renovation, Vega said, adding that other than those mentioned, DMC has also improved facilities at the Davao Medical Hospital, emergency area, and built new burn screening center.

No politics

Meanwhile, Mayor Rodrigo Duterte has expressed irritation over the renaming of the hospital.

Duterte said the bill was passed "as if the Congress has nothing better to do," during his appearance in Pastor Apollo Quiboloy's show "Give Us this Day" last month.

But Vega said there's no politics in the renaming of the hospital.

"The bill was passed two years ago pa by Congressman Vince Garcia and this also received the support of other local congressmen," Vega said.

Asked whether he shares Duterte’s sentiments on renaming DMC to Southern Philippines Medical Center, Vega said he does "as the term Davao in DMC" has also become endearing to him.

"It's understandable naman. The name has become endearing to him because the city mayor has always been very supportive of the hospital naman. The word Davao also holds meaning to me because this is where I trained years ago pa," Vega said.

He added that the name "Southern Philippines" would also fit the hospital as it caters to patients outside the city.

"Although most of the patients do come from the city, we also receive patients from Bukidnon, Surigao, [and] Cotabato among others. DMC is getting out of the parokyal mentality and our capability to give technical expertise is gaining attention," Vega said.

House Speaker Prospero Nograles, on his website, said he has plans to purchase a brand new Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machine, and establish a women and child center for DMC.

According to the website, Nograles’s bill intends to expand DMC and sets aside some P104 million for various projects aimed to uplift medical care and services in Davao City and the rest of Southern Philippines. (JCZ)