Sanggunian urges mayor to study constructing hospital for Bacolod

The Bacolod Sangguniang Panlungsod is calling on Mayor Evelio Leonardia to study the possibility of constructing a city-owned public hospital, Councilor Renecito Novero said today, November 19.

Novero said he presented a motion on the floor Wednesday requesting the mayor to study the possibility of putting up a city hospital from any available sources of funds.

Opposition Councilor Wilson Gamboa Jr. said the subsidiary resolution of Novero was passed in lieu of his original resolution appealing to the mayor to consider using available credit in banks to build a city-owned public hospital for Bacolod.

He said there was barely any difference in his resolution and that of Novero, except for the source of funds.

The administration councilors just don’t want to make reference to the P1.7 million credit line of the city government, Gamboa said.

To use the P1.7 billion for a hospital will plunge the city government into very serious legal complications, as it will be violating its existing contracts with the bank, Novero said in response.

In his proposed resolution, Gamboa pointed out that on Nov. 26, 2018, the SP granted the authority to sign a PHP1.7 billion loan agreement with the Development Bank of the Philippines, which was ratified on Dec. 10, 2018.

On Aug. 16, 2019, Leonardia lead the signing of the agreement for the P1.7 billion from Development Bank of the Philippines obtained by the city government to fund its four flagship projects – the P800 million Bacolod MassKara Coliseum with an outdoor arena, P350 million development of Progreso Village Relocation Site, P350 million Bacolod City College site development and facilities, and P200 million construction of roads and bridges, Gamboa said.

Bacolod is one of the most populated cities in the country with 561, 875 residents based on the 2015 national census, he said.

With only six private hospitals and one tertiary government hospital with only a 400-bed capacity that serves a daily average of 724 patients from the whole of Negros Occidental, Gamboa said the hospitals in the city are overwhelmed catering COVID-19 patients leaving other severe and critical patients behind.

Bacolod City should be self-reliant in its health services since major public hospitals cannot fully accommodate our constituents, he said.

He also pointed out that on Oct. 19, 2020, the Senate Committee on Health and Demography approved House Bill 6731 authored by Bacolod Rep. Greg Gasataya along with Senate Bill 1647, which was filed by Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, establishing the Bacolod City General Hospital.

However, even with the Senate’s approval establishing the Bacolod City General Hospital, there is no guarantee of allocation of funds for its construction since the priority of the national government is the COVID-19 pandemic assistance and its impact on the economy, Gamboa said.

Congress has yet to discuss the fund allocation for the Bacolod hospital that could be included in the 2022 budget yet, he added.

The city government should set aside funds for a hospital that is an urgent need since it has a credit line available, he said.

The funds can also be used as a counterpart contribution to the Bacolod City General Hospital to fast track its construction, Gamboa said.*

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