Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama has stood by his earlier pronouncement that the 10-story Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC) will be completed at no cost to the City Government.
There are reports that four Filipino private firms and a group of Chinese businessmen have pledged to donate close to P1 billion for this to happen.
That should be good news, right?
I just hope they don’t end up like American actress Amber Heard, who insisted on using the words pledge and donate synonymously with each other.
At any rate, the public only has the mayor’s word that these good Samaritans are willing to part with their money so the City can provide affordable healthcare to its constituents.
But unless they put this in writing, the matter will have to be taken with a grain of salt.
The mayor’s special assistant on special projects said the pledge is part of the firms’ “corporate social responsibility,” adding that the financial commitments will be handled “with utmost transparency and accountability.”
And yet, neither he nor the mayor has identified the pledgers, which can only mean one thing. It’s not a done deal.
Also, if it’s going to be a partnership, these firms will want something in return. They cannot go home empty-handed, so to speak.
I mean, let’s face it, there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch. Which reminds me of my favorite line from the movie “The Silence of the Lambs:” “Quid pro quo, Clarice.”
This might explain why, on Thursday, March 23, 2023, some city officials were quick to assure that any public-private partnership will not affect the cost of treatment and other medical services offered by the CCMC.
Councilor Jocelyn Pesquera, chairperson of the committee on health, hospital services and sanitation, and CCMC hospital administrator Sonia Empinado both said a city ordinance will see to that.
Even if the firms are doing this out of the goodness of their hearts and not because a carrot was dangled in front of them, Rama, the City Government and the residents will still owe them a debt of gratitude.
By the way, it’s not nice to feel indebted. Because eventually, you know you have to repay the favor. That is, if you’re a decent person.
Anyway, the new CCMC will have to be completed sooner or later. Although, most probably later. Because let’s be realistic. How can the City expect to finish the hospital before the end of the year—I think the mayor said by November—when only three floors are in use after eight years of construction?
I’d like to be proven wrong, though.