BY CHRYSEE G. SAMILLANO
Bacolod Rep. Greg Gasataya yesterday said he has requested Health Secretary Francisco Duque III for additional help from the Department of Health (DOH) in line with the situation in Bacolod City and the current rise in the number of COVID infections.
Gasataya said he wrote Duque requesting for DOH’s assistance in addressing the problem of hospital occupancy which has reached critical level, as well as the need to hire additional health workers and other assistance they can provide to the city due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases.
With this situation, he is hopeful that the construction of the Bacolod City General Hospital will be implemented in 2022 with the allocation of a budget of P250 million in the 2022 National Expenditure Program (NEP) under the Health Facilities Enhancement Program (HFEP) of the Department of Health (DOH), the solon said.
Gasataya said he met with representatives of the DOH and Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Monday on his request for technical assistance for the establishment of the Bacolod City General Hospital (BCGH). He cited, for example, the needed paper work which he has requested from the DOH Central Office, as well as technical help in the selection of the site for the hospital, which they discussed in their meeting.
He said the meeting Monday was very productive and that they will have their second coordination meeting next week and will invite other agencies and government offices in preparation for the implementation of the law establishing the BCGH in Bacolod City.
President Rodrigo Duterte had signed into law Republic Act (RA) 11564, creating the Bacolod City General Hospital and appropriating fund for its establishment, last June 24.
Gasataya said that aside from the P250 million budget in the 2022 NEP which is now in the House, Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri had also committed to find other sources starting with an allocation of P200 million, and House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco who also gave his commitment for additional funds. They are hopeful that they will be able to have enough budget to start the construction of the hospital, he said.
Certain groups have proposed to donate their properties to the city for the site of the construction of the city hospital. These properties are located in the areas of Barangays Felisa, Vista Alegre, Bata, Pahanocoy and another in an undisclosed location, he said.
Gasataya said the need for a hospital for Bacolod City is long overdue. That is why he considers this a priority project which he hopes will be implemented by the government next year.
Even before the pandemic, there had already been a need for additional hospitals in the city. “And these past three to four weeks, our hospitals reached full capacity in terms of cases in relation to COVID-19.” So he is hoping that the construction of the city hospital will be implemented next year, he said.*