Senate head vows more funds for Iloilo City Hospital

Senate President Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri, Ex-Senator Franklin Drilon and Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas together with Representatives Julienne Baronda (Iloilo City lone district) and James Ang (Uswag Ilonggo Party-list), and Vice Mayor Jeffrey Ganzon lead the groundbreaking of the Iloilo City Hospital and Medical Arts Building at Brgy. San Pedro, Molo, Iloilo City on Friday, Sept 9, 2022. (John Noel E. Herrera)

By John Noel E. Herrera

Senate President Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri together with former Senator Franklin Drilon and Iloilo City Mayor Jerry P. Treñas led the groundbreaking ceremony of the Iloilo City Hospital and Medical Arts Building that will soon cater to the healthcare concerns of Ilonggos, on Friday, Sept 9, 2022.

They were joined by Representatives Julienne Baronda (Iloilo City lone district) and James Ang (Uswag Ilonggo Party-list), Iloilo City Health Office head Dr. Annabelle Tang, and other city officials.

Zubiri said that the pandemic has emphasized the need for better healthcare and while there are already several hospitals in the city, “most of them are private hospitals, providing services that are largely inaccessible to many of our low-income constituents.”

“So apart from decongesting the existing hospitals in the city, including the Western Visayas Medical Center, the establishment of the Iloilo City Hospital and Medical Arts Building will also ensure that our constituents have access to quality health care that at a more affordable price point compared to private hospitals,” Zubiri added.

The five-storey, 200-bed capacity hospital will house the administrative, emergency (with decontaminations and isolation rooms), outpatient (X-ray laboratories and pharmacies), surgical, engineering, and maintenance departments (carpentry workshop, laundry, and waste management facilities), while the multipurpose facility or the Medical Arts building will house the 36 units of doctors’ clinic, conference rooms, bio-medical equipment rooms, and other essentials.

The total lot area for the hospital and medical arts building is approximately 7,135 square meters wherein 42 percent of it will be used for the hospital; 18 percent for the medical arts building, and 40 percent for open spaces, driveways, and service areas, among others.

The hospital which will be located at Barangay San Pedro, Molo is funded by a P500 million loan of the Iloilo City Government from the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP), while the Medical Arts building costs P200 million which is under the 2022 Department of Works and Highways (DPWH) infrastructure program and will be implemented by the DPWH-6.

The medical facilities that will be under the control and supervision of the city government are expected to be finished in March 2023.

Former Senator Franklin Drilon and Representative Julienne Baronda also added an additional P500 million in the capital outlay of the project to be used for the procurement of diagnostic equipment like CT scan machine, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machine, X-ray machine, among others.

Zubiri also pushed the funding of P200 million for the parking lot construction in the facility in the 2022 National Expenditure Program and promised the Ilonggos for an initial P250 million funding for the procurement of medical equipment.

“I am here in support when kumpare Jerry (Mayor Jerry P. Treñas) told me to help him with the hospital, I said I am with you, 100 percent because this is really my campaign promise and Iloilo being the regional center of Region 6, we are also planning to put up a regional specialty hospital which will house the heart center, kidney center, and cancer center, that is our next step after the city hospital,” the Senate President added.

Meanwhile, Drilon also lauded the initiative of the city government to put up a hospital project as he emphasized the lack of hospital beds, nurses and physicians not just in Iloilo City but in the whole country that leads to a poor healthcare system.

“In many of the LGUs that we know, there objective is to rationalize the local hospitals, so that the national government will again spend for the hospitals, but Mayor Jerry on the opposite is establishing an Iloilo City Hospital and by the specific provision of law, the city government will have supervision and control, and will spend for this hospital, and that is why we must congratulate and thank Mayor Jerry for this bold initiative that he has taken to launch this hospital and medical arts building in Iloilo City,” Drilon added.

Drilon also urged the city government to consider providing scholars to physicians and nurses, in return for giving service to the city when they graduate, as the city is also lacking medical personnel as most of them go abroad for higher salaries.

Data from ICHO indicated that based on the population both in Iloilo City and the province, Iloilo needs 7,500 hospital beds, but there are only around 3,100 hospital beds available currently.