OPERATION Smile, a non-profit humanitarian and medical relief organization, promised to work side by side with the Cebu City Government for the building of a new Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC).

This was disclosed by Operation Smile co-founder and chief executive officer Dr. William Magee Jr., who was in Cebu City yesterday to visit the temporary hospital set up at the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) compound along N. Bacalso Ave.

The hospital is operating at the BFP compound since their building located across the area was demolished after it was badly damaged by the 7.2-magnitude earthquake in October last year.

In a news conference called by Mayor Michael Rama, Magee said that Operation Smile will help the City Government in raising money all over the world and inviting investors for the rebuilding of a new hospital.

He pointed out that their organization has been serving 60 countries all over the world.

“We can find right people in the right moments to be able to raise more money to make this (rebuilding of a hospital) the best possible,” he said.

The cost of building the new CCMC, which will be a 10-storey facility, is pegged at P1.5 billion.

Also, Magee said Operation Smile will help in establishing system in the new hospital that will make its operations world-class and meet the global standards of health care.

“We have sets of global standards of care that we’ve developed with health care professionals with 40 different countries and we are more than glad to share all those kinds of things to make sure that we help establish standards of care that are better than anybody,” he said.

Medical hub

Once it will become operational, Magee said the new hospital should become a regional medical hub and not only meet the health needs of the city’s constituents but that of the entire region as well.

He believes the City should take the opportunity now to build a hospital that is the best in the region, if not the best in the whole country.

Magee recalled his visit at the temporary hospital yesterday and said, with tears, that it was “begging for help.”

“You are given a magic moment now. Why develop something that is same old, same old.

Something you had before. Why develop something that is average? You have been given the magic moment to develop the best. Cebuanos deserve the best because you are wonderful people,” he said. “The earthquake and the typhoon gave you this magic moment. Don’t let it pass.”

Operation Smile’s senior vice president for Asia Michael Nebeker said their organization’s decision to help the City in rebuilding the hospital is a tribute to the Filipino children and the country. He said their organization started in the

Philippines, particularly in Naga City in 1982.

Meanwhile, Councilor Mary Ann delos Santos, chairperson of the CCMC ad hoc committee, said the construction of the new hospital will be bidded out soon. They intend to start the construction of the new hospital by end of July.