San Joaquin hospital fenced off by alleged landowner

By Rjay Zuriaga Castor

A “No Entry Private Property” sign and cyclone wire fencing have been erected at the San Joaquin Mother and Child Hospital in Sitio Inawangan, Purok 5, in the town of San Joaquin, Iloilo.

The controversy stemmed from the claim that the land on which the hospital sits, a 1,900-square-meter lot allegedly donated by Vilma Getuya, the mother of the San Joaquin Vice Mayor, is no longer being used for its intended purpose.

According to the family, the donation was conditional, with the stipulation that the land should revert to the donor if the hospital ceased to function.

They have declared the facility “abandoned.”

The Western Visayas Medical Center (WVMC) is the donee of the land. The hospital, a 10-bed infirmary, is operated by the provincial government.

An inspection by Iloilo 1st District Congresswoman Janette Garin on Monday, June 10, revealed that at least five families from Calinog have occupied some rooms of the hospital.

The Department of Health was scheduled to inspect and repair the facility’s broken X-ray machine at the request of WVMC. However, the inspection was hindered by the fencing.

Meanwhile, Garin contested that the land was donated in 1993 specifically for the hospital’s construction by Tay Aquin, contradicting claims that Vilma Getuya, the Vice Mayor’s mother, was the donor.

“The hospital, built on 1,800 square meters of land donated by Vice Mayor Getuya’s grandfather, Tay Aquin, has long served the people of San Joaquin and nearby Antique. This move to fence off the hospital is nothing short of greed,” Garin said.

“The courts will ultimately decide this matter,” she added.

The lawmaker accused the Getuya family of indirect bribery, alleging that Vilma Getuya has repeatedly provided local police with food, groceries, and gifts to not interfere with the ongoing dispute.

Despite several requests from municipal officials for police assistance in securing the hospital, the police have not taken action, according to Garin.

Citing this alleged inaction from police authorities, Garin called on the Police Regional Office 6 to relieve all police personnel of the San Joaquin Municipal Police Station.

“The Getuya family’s actions undermine the welfare of the community, and their attempts to manipulate the situation through gifts to the police are reprehensible,” Garin concluded.

Following a tense standoff and extensive discussions between Garin and the Getuya family, the obstructions were eventually removed on Monday.


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