THE big news for Cebu City is that work on phase 1 or the first six floors of the 10-floor Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC) building is 65 percent complete. A few months more and work on phase 2, or the interior of the structure, will follow. That’s according to CCMC administrator Kenneth Siasar, who targets August as the start of the hospital operations in the first six floors of the new structure.
That means the CCMC, which is currently housed in the cramped Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) 7, will soon be in a bigger place. Former mayor Michael Rama had ordered the facility’s transfer after the old structure was damaged by the magnitude 7.2 earthquake that hit Bohol and Cebu provinces in 2013. He had the damaged structure demolished to give way to the construction of a new and bigger building.
Mayor Tomas Osmeña, who defeated Rama in the 2016 elections, chose to proceed with the construction of the structure and expressed his preference to have the first six floors operational even if work on the last four floors would continue. Which should be the better option considering the situation of the CCMC at the BFP 7 building, which is not intended to be a medical facility.
This, though, is ironic considering history. During Osmeña’s previous terms as mayor, he had wanted to let go of the CCMC, criticizing the manner it was being run, and even floated the idea of selling it to the group of businessman Manny Pangilinan. The move was met with stiff opposition by the city’s constituents, who recognized the important service provided by the facility.
It was probably good that when the earthquake damaged the CCMC building, Rama was mayor and not Osmeña. During the time when Osmeña was peddling the sell-the-CCMC-line, Rama had openly opposed it. So when Rama got the chance to decide on the medical facility’s future, the push to rebuild a modern CCMC was not surprising.
Many things have happened since then. Obviously, no investor after Pangilinan has offered to buy the CCMC. When Osmeña returned as mayor last year, the old structure was already demolished and work on the new building had started. There was no turning back and Osmeña must have realized that. Hopefully, his change of heart is not grudging and he would find ways to make the CCMC the best medical facility run by a local government unit.