BY CHRYSEE G. SAMILLANO
Bacolod Rep. Greg Gasataya yesterday said he was invited to the Grupo Progreso meeting called by Mayor Evelio Leonardia on Sept. 3 but was not able to attend it to be with several colleagues in the House of Representatives, led by House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco.
Gasataya said his colleagues visited Bacolod City and Negros Occidental, particularly Talisay and Silay City, that same day to check on projects.
Several pictures posted on social media showed Gasataya and Velasco with Rep. Kiko Benitez of the 3rd District of Negros Occidental, AAMBIS-OWA Partylist Rep. Sharon Garin, Quezon Rep. Mark Enverga, Ilocos Sur Rep. Kristine Singson Meehan, Valenzuela City Rep. Wes Gatchalian, Pangasinan Rep. Christopher de Venecia, Navotas City Rep. Johnrey Tiangco, Tarlac Rep. Carlos Cojuangco, House Secretary General Dong Mendoza and others visiting Silay and Talisay.
Gasataya added he received a commitment for additional funds for the construction of the Bacolod City General Hospital during that visit.
He said he will send this week a copy of the perspective plan and other details in the construction of the hospital to Velasco’s Office, adding that the latter did not commit any specific amount but had asked for documents to support the possible appropriation of additional funds to be included in the General Appropriations Act for 2022.
Gasataya said the initial phase of the hospital construction may start first quarter of next year since the Department of Health already included in its budget P250 million as initial funds for the BCGH.
But this budget is not enough for the building construction alone, the solon said, adding that he will seek help from national officials to contribute as the health facility will need equipment and other logistics for its operations.
Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri, who authored the counterpart bill in the Senate that initially allocated P600 million for the BCGH, earlier committed P200 million for the hospital construction.
Gasataya said he will also rely on the commitment of the Bacolod City government to support the project by appropriating funds for the initial phase of construction.
Once the Department of Public Works and Highways finished the detailed plan, including the cost of the project, and the quarantine status in the National Capital Region will be eased, Gasataya said he will invite personnel from the DOH so that the site for the hospital will be finalised. He added that four landowners have offered to donate their lots in barangays Vista Alegre, Felisa, Bata and Alijis, as hospital site.*