Finally, a city hospital

By Herbert Vego

IS this now the solution to the problem of the sick but hard-up residents of Iloilo City who could die while eternally waiting for a ward vacancy in any of the two public hospitals here?

Well then, let us thank our congresswoman, Julienne “Jam-Jam” Baronda, whose House Bill 10464 — “an act establishing a city hospital to be known as the Iloilo City Hospital” — has been approved on third and final reading in the Senate.

Unanimously approved by both the House of Representatives and the Senate, it has been transmitted to Pres. Rodrigo Duterte for his signature.

Let us also be thankful to Mayor Jerry Treñas and the city’s Sangguniang Panlungsod for endorsement of Baronda’s bill.

A city hospital, long-overdue, ought to solve the acute problem of lack of accommodation for the bedridden who could not afford to pay for pay-wards and private rooms.

The two public hospitals in the city – West Visayas State University Medical Center (WVSUMC, still popularly known as Don Benito Hospital) and the regional Western Visayas Medical Center (WVMC) – could no longer cope with the long line of patients patiently awaiting confinement.

Take the case of Argie Caro, a 39-year-old computer programmer at the Iloilo Science and Technology University (ISAT-U). He badly needs hospitalization due to an inflamed tissue in his brain and three more in his lungs. Having exhausted all his money for CT scans, a bronchoscopy, steroids and other life-saving medicines, he has lined up for ward confinement and biopsy at WVSUMC, as advised by Dr. Charles Juanitas.

“I am still waiting for my turn,” he told me. “Tawgan lang kuno nila ako. Meanwhile, I depend on expensive steroids to prevent pain and the spread of inflammations.”

Since it was in February or three months ago when he felt the pain of his brain and lung afflictions, he appears to be losing hope of getting that call from the hospital. And so, as one of his friends, I sought for the intercession of Cong. Baronda before it’s too late.

Inday Jam-Jam responded with an assurance to mobilize her staff.

I also wrote about his condition on my Facebook page.

An unexpected response came from a colleague, New York-based journalist Alex P. Vidal who sent Argie a cash donation of P10,000 for his palliative drugs.  A million thanks, Lex!

Good Samaritans reading this may also directly help Argie Vicera Caro through his GCash account No. 09760517565.



SOME “blessed” people wish to be rewarded for past favors.  You can read between the lines from this statement from former Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman Saidamen Pangarungan:

“I firmly believe that if president-elect Marcos would give much weight to the successes of the previous election, I stand a good chance of being reappointed.”

Saidamen Pangarungan and two other new commissioners of the Comelec, George Garcia and Aimee Torrefranca-Neri, failed to be confirmed by Congress’ Commission of Appointments (CA) after the May 9, 2022 presidential election.

Under the 1987 Constitution (Article IX-C), the chairman and the six commissioners appointed by the President of the Philippines shall serve a term of seven years, provided they have passed CA confirmation.

What “weight” was Pangarungan talking about that should prompt incoming President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to reappoint him?

He was almost like saying that Marcos owes him a favor for the latter’s 31 million votes against Leni Robredo’s 15 million. Did he expect a reward for that?

If truth be told, Pangarungan – a last-minute Duterte appointee — owes us voters an explanation as to how Marcos – with no memorable track record in public service as a past governor and senator – had bested Robredo who had beaten him for vice-president in 2016.

The Comelec has ignored complaints against allegations of programmed “performance” by its transparency server showing that in many voting centers, the combined votes for Marcos and Robredo showed a 68-32 consistency. That is to say, of their combined votes, Marcos scored 68 percent while Robredo got only 32 percent.

Well then, let us see if the hand of BBM would sign the bypassed chair’s reappointment. If he does, then he is really returning an undeserved favor.