CEBU -- The Department of Health (DOH) Central Visayas urged officials of the Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC) to stop using a cargo container to keep the bodies of the dead.

Dr. Jaime Bernadas, DOH-Central Visayas director, urged the Cebu City Government to fast-track the construction of a new CCMC building, in the wake of reports that rats were seen gnawing on the body of a man that was being kept in the temporary facility.

But the CCMC management cannot heed all of the DOH’s recommendations just yet.

CCMC chief of operations for administration Rey Cris Panugaling said they have no other area to place the bodies. He said that the DOH had recommended transferring the cadaver holding area to the back of CCMC, in a visit last month.

That, too, would be difficult because a school operates in the area and there is an ongoing construction work there, Panugaling said.

The CCMC’s cadaver holding area, which is a one big cargo container, is located at present in front of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) compound along N. Bacalso Ave.


Panugaling assured, though, that the management of CCMC is doing its best to improve their temporary operations at the BFP.

Work is ongoing for their expansion in the City Traffic Operations Management building.

The DOH’s latest recommendation came in response to reports that rats were seen gnawing on the nose of Harold Siton, a shooting victim, while the body was in the custody of the City Government-owned hospital.

Siton’s sister, Goldy Amor, said that when she picked up her brother’s body from CCMC last Sunday night, she noticed the rats. Siton, 35, was killed during a shooting incident in Barangay Kinasang-an last Sunday.

Asked if the incident might affect their application for Level II accreditation for the hospital, Panugaling said he believes it will not, because what happened to Siton was an isolated case.

The CCMC will release today, February 4, the results of their investigation on the incident, he also said.


The City is constructing a new hospital after the old CCMC was demolished. The old CCMC sustained heavy damage during the 7.2-magnitude earthquake in October 2013.

Interviewed separately, Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella shared Mayor Michael Rama’s statement that the bidding for the construction of the new CCMC will have to be fast-tracked.

However, he said the project will also have to go through the correct process in a transparent fashion.

Asked to comment on DOH’s statement that the agency has not set aside a budget for the new CCMC as requested by the mayor, Labella said the City Government can still go on with its implementation.

While the project is expected to cost P1.5 billion, he pointed out that the City has set aside an initial amount for its implementation, about P600 million. Of the P600 million, P300 million will be taken from the first supplemental budget last year, while the other P300 million will be taken from the P13.4-billion budget for this year.

In DOH-Central Visayas' press conference on Tuesday, Dr. Sophia Mancao recommended that the CCMC officials stop using its cargo container as a temporary cadaver holding area.

Not ideal

Mancao, who is DOH-Central Visayas' Licensing Enforcement Division chief, said that cargo containers are not ideal storage facilities for cadavers.

She said that hospital administrators must find a suitable area to keep cadavers, and make sure it has complete facilities, and proper pest and vermin control.

Bernadas, for his part, told reporters that he would ask the CCMC to submit a report regarding the incident.

Bernadas also confirmed that until now, their P500-million counterpart that they’ve requested from the DOH Central Office in Manila has yet to be transmitted to the regional office.

Their counterpart, requested shortly after the October 2013 earthquake, was supported by various endorsements, including one from the Regional Development Council.

“It has not reached us so I presume there was no release yet,” Bernadas added.

Bernadas added that the CCMC is closely coordinating with their licensing enforcement office regarding the transfer of some of their facilities to the old Citom space. (PDF/JKV/Sun.Star Cebu)