PRESIDENT Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. approved on Thursday, February 2, 2023, the construction of a P6-billion worth cancer center at the University of the Philippines (UP)-Philippine General Hospital (PGH) in Manila.

During the third meeting of the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) board chaired by Marcos, it was revealed that the construction of the facility with 300-bed capacity was approved in a bid to modernize the country’s health infrastructure on oncology services and cancer care.

It will be the first Public-Private-Partnership project of the Marcos’ administration.

“The project aims to establish UP-PGH’s dedicated cancer hospital that will modernize its health infrastructure and offer comprehensive, high-quality, and affordable oncology services towards enhancing the country’s health service quality and capacity for cancer care,” Malacañang said in a statement.

It will be located within the UP-PGH campus in Manila with a lot area of 3,000 square meters.

Of the total capacity, 150 beds will be dedicated to charity cases while the other half for private.

It will be around 15 to 20 floors with 350 parking spaces, 1,000-square-meter commercial space, and an area for three linear accelerators (Linac) bunkers.

The hospital will provide a full range of cancer treatments, including radio oncology (radiotherapy), imaging, medical oncology, and support for the UP-PGH’s teaching and research activities.

“The UP-PGH’s private partner will design, engineer, construct, and commission the entire new hospital building, procure, maintain, and provide for the periodic replacement of medical and non-medical equipment,” Malacañang said.

“It will also maintain all non-clinical services for the entire hospital building, operate relevant commercial activities, provide clinical services to private-paying patients in the private area, and assume all associated costs of clinical manpower, drugs, and consumables,” it added.

The UP-PGH will provide the site at no cost, transfer the existing equipment to the Cancer Institute, provide clinical services to non-paying charity patients in the UP-PGH area, assume all associated costs of clinical manpower, drugs, and consumables, as well as undertake clinical teaching and research.

The project will be solicited from the public through the submission of a bid and will be structured as a 30-year Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) arrangement under the BOT Law.

The BOT approach is an agreement that grants a concession to a private partner to finance, build, and operate a project over a fixed term.

After that period, the project is returned to the public entity that originally granted the concession.

Meanwhile, in a press conference on Friday, February 3, Neda Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said the board also approved six other “high-impact” projects that are “expected to significantly contribute to achieving our social and economic transformation goal in the medium term.”

The projects include the P20-billion integrated flood resilience project of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), which aims to mitigate flood damage and improve climate resilience in three major river basin; the utilization of the P2.12-billion loan balance from the Japan International Cooperation Agency for the Communications, Navigation and Surveillance Systems for Air Traffic Management maintenance and resiliency enhancement; the Department of Agriculture’s Mindanao Inclusive Agriculture Development Project that aims to increase productivity, resiliency, and access to markets and services of farmers and fisher groups in selected areas; and changes in two ongoing projects of the DPWH and the Department of Transportation (DOTr) -- the Davao Transport Modernization Project and the MRT-3 rehabilitation project.

Balisacan said the cancer center will be a public facility despite it being under public-private partnership. (SunStar Philippines)