THE Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) in Cebu City will have 300 more beds to cater to patients after the Senate passed without amendments House Bill 7975 last Monday, Jan. 31, 2022.

Under House Bill 7975, the bed capacity of VSMMC on B. Rodriguez St., Cebu City would be expanded to 1,500 beds from 1,200 beds.

It was the late congressman Raul del Mar (Cebu City, 1st district) who first filed the bill in the House to expand the hospital’s bed capacity on July 1, 2019.

In his introduction to his then House Bill (HB) 495, Del Mar said VSMMC, a “general tertiary medical center teaching training medical facility owned by the Philippine government” was developing specialties and sub-specialties under different clinical departments and would need more beds as the hospital also serves not just Cebu but also the rest of the Visayas and provinces in Mindanao fronting Cebu island.

The specialty centers of VSMMC, the mega multi-specialty hospital of the Visayas, include a Heart-Lung Center, Kidney Transplant Center, Oncology Center, Trauma Center, Orthopedic Center, Center for Infectious Disease and Tropical Medicine, Geriatric Center, and Diabetes Control Center, Del Mar said.

On Nov. 9, 2020, a week before Del Mar’s death, HB 495 was substituted by HB 7975, which now included as co-authors Eduardo “Eddie” R. Gullas (Cebu, 1st district), Wilfredo “Willy” S. Caminero (Cebu, 2nd district), Pablo John F. Garcia (Cebu, 3rd district), Emmarie “Lolypop” Ouano-Dizon (Cebu, 6th district), Peter John D. Calderon (Cebu, 7th district), Paz C. Radaza (Lapu-Lapu City, Lone district), Raymund Democrito C. Mendoza, (TUCP Party-list), Sonny “Sl” L. Lagon (Ako Bisaya Party-list), and Joy Myra S. Tambunting (Parañaque City, 2nd district).

Under HB 7975, VSMMC’s workforce, which refers to its doctors, nurses and support personnel, would also be increased correspondingly.

The measure was approved by the House on third reading on Dec. 1, 2020.

Del Mar had progressively worked for the expansion of VSMMC’s bed capacity.

He principally authored Republic Act (RA) 8658 in 1998 to double VSMMC’s bed capacity from 400 to 800, and RA 10770 in 2016, which further increased the bed capacity from 800 to the present 1,200.