Monday, October 25, 2021

A year after the quake: How is CCMC’s recovery so far?

WARDING OFF MORE SEROUS AILMENTS. The Cebu City Medical Center’s (CCMC) temporary emergency rooms, surgery and internal medicine departments share what used to be the Bureau of Fire Protection’s parking lot on N. Bacalso Ave. An old gym and offi ce spaces have been converted into wards (like the one in photo) and the outpatient department, among others. Councilor Mary Ann delos Santos, chief of the CCMC ad hoc committee, says the City intends to start the fi rst phase of the new hospital project this month. (SUN.STAR PHOTO/ALEX BADAYOS))

CEBU - Shortly after last year’s earthquake, the Cebu City Government lost one of its busiest facilities in the delivery of basic services, the Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC).

The 45-year-old building on N. Bacalso Ave. was badly damaged when the 7.2-magnitude earthquake last October 15, 2013 shook Bohol, Cebu and other parts of the Visayas.

The calamity led to another: the public hospital’s untimely demolition.

City Hall’s Department of Engineering and Public Works declared the CCMC too unsafe to occupy after its ceilings, walls and columns showed huge diagonal cracks after the tremors. The engineers said the structure no longer conformed to the country’s building standards. Some of the building’s windows had shattered.

The Rama administration then decided to undertake what would be its biggest project to date, the construction of a new, bigger and modern hospital that is projected to cost P1.5 billion.

Today, however, the City has yet to come up with enough funds for the construction of the proposed 10 story, 409-bed facility.

Of the total amount needed, the City’s funds on hand are around P316 million, or about 21 percent of the total project cost.

The P300 million was appropriated in the City’s first supplemental budget for this year while the P16 million was raised through the “Piso Mo, Hospital Ko” fund drive.

‘Noble project’

Based on the records of the City Accounting Department, the top five biggest contributors in the fund-raising campaign for the hospital are SM Prime Holdings Inc., which turned over P5 million to the City, while the Yeosu Government in South Korea, Cebu City’s sister-city, gave P1.1 million.

Asociacion Benevola de Cebu Inc., the owner of Chong Hua Hospital, also contributed P1 million. Cebu CFI Cooperative donated P1 million and Rotary International District 3860 gave P1 million for the project.

Mayor Michael Rama was able to get P912 million in pledges from Filipino communities in four states in the US during his three-week visit there last August.

The pledges have yet to be delivered.

In an interview with Sun.Star Cebu, CCMC ad hoc committee head and City Councilor Mary Ann delos Santos said she will discuss with the mayor in the coming weeks how they can ensure that the pledges will materialize.

“I am very optimistic that the pledges will be translated to cash because this is a noble project,” she said.

Who’s helping?

The Filipino community in Las Vegas vowed to raise funds for the construction of the second floor of the new CCMC.

Based on the estimates made by Dr. Shawn Espina and Architect Mico Espina, the construction of the second floor will cost P162.25 million.

The Espinas, who are also members of the CCMC ad hoc committee, made the building plans and design for the new hospital.

Cebuanos in Houston, Texas also pledged to raise funds for the hospital’s third floor, which is estimated to cost P166.58 million.

Those from Seattle committed to raise the P170.74 million needed to construct the fourth floor while those in Salinas, California will raise the P100.6 million for the sixth floor.

As for the construction of the first floor of the hospital, SM Prime Holdings Inc. president Hans Sy promised to shoulder the cost, amounting to P116.6 million, while the fourth floor will be taken care of by the Operation Smile. It will cost P195.3 million to construct the fourth floor.


If the pledges will be delivered, the City would have P1.228 billion for the rebuilding project. This means that the City would only need P271.96 million to be able to complete the project.

Delos Santos said the City will set aside additional funds for the new hospital in its 2015 annual budget, but they have yet to determine the amount.

In the meantime, delos Santos said the City will just have to make do with the money that they have now.

Delos Santos said the City intends to start constructing the first phase of the project this month.

The first phase, limited to the structural foundation of the new hospital, costs P314.3 million.

The City held the bidding for the project last September 30. Delos Santos said they expect to finish the first phase by December.

Aside from additional rooms for the patients, the new CCMC will also have an open space, a mini-park or a garden, several chapels, workshops or training rooms and some commercial spaces, among others. The old CCMC did not have these facilities.

The parking lot is also incorporated in the new building.

Target: 2016

The CCMC College of Nursing, which was transferred to the College of Technological Sciences after the earthquake, will also be housed in the new building.

Before the earthquake, some of the school’s classes were held at the CCMC building while some are held at the Cebu Institute of Technology (CIT). CCMC’s nursing program is a consortium with the CIT.

Based on their time frame, the councilor said the new CCMC is expected to be finished by 2016.

“Whoever is the winning bidder, I will have to sit down with him and make sure we meet our targets. You know, kung tarongon lang gyud ni, way binuang, everything will be finished as scheduled, mahuman gyud ni (If we seriously work on this, we will finish the hospital as scheduled),” she said.

Members of the CCMC ad hoc committee also changed their minds and will no longer occupy and operate the different floors upon their completion, while the upper floors are still being constructed.


“It will not be a good to operate the first or second level and construction is still ongoing on the upper floors. It’s not healthy for the patients. So let’s just finish the entire building. We were able to live with the present set-up so let’s just focus on finishing the building,” the councilor said.

CCMC is temporarily housed in the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) compound, which sits on a 7,000-square-meter property beside the old hospital building.

The temporary hospital only has 108 beds, much fewer than the old hospital’s 300 beds.

With the limited capacity of CCMC following the earthquake, other government hospitals have been taking on the workload, particularly the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSSMC).

VSMMC head for the Office of Special Concerns Dr. Joseph Al Alesna, in a separate interview, said their patients have increased to more than 1,000 every day since the earthquake.

Prior to the earthquake, he said their daily census was only around 800 to 900. Because of the increase, Alesna said their manpower has been overstretched.

Limited beds

“We told them (City) that our manpower has gone beyond the acceptable ratio. So CCMC lent us some of their personnel. Maybe the mayor also recognized that we do need manpower so that their constituents can be served better,” he said.

With more patients coming to them, Alesna said they were forced to be more meticulous when screening patients for admission.

He said only those that are in a more critical situation would be confined due to the limited availability of beds. VSMMC is a 500-bed facility.

“The hospital also created a mechanism where those patients who need further observation are brought to a holding area. Those who are also due for discharge but could not be discharged also go to the holding area just so the beds can be vacated,” Alesna added.

Asked if VSMMC won’t be asking for financial help from the City considering that there will be no new CCMC for the next two years, Alesna said they understand that CCMC also needs the funds and it would not be logical for them to pressure the City to give them aid.

People’s hospital

He said they would rather ask for help from the National Government since VSMMC is under the Department of Health.

“Our budget is based on a 500-bed capacity but we already requested for a budget for 800 beds and that has been approved, along with it the required manpower. Our number of patients keeps on increasing so we have to catch up with the increase,” he added.

Aside from VSMMC, CCMC also refers the patients it cannot accommodate to other hospitals including Cebu Velez General Hospital, Chong Hua Hospital, Adventist Hospital Cebu, Cebu Doctor’s University Hospital and Perpetual Succour Hospital.

Pending the completion of the new CCMC, delos Santos is asking the public to continue to help and support the project.

She said the City is the first local government unit to construct a hospital without help from the National Government.

“We are making a hospital and this is a special one. We are not making just an ordinary building. This is the people’s hospital,” she said.
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