NOTE: THIS STORY WAS FIRST PUBLISHED IN THE BOHOL CHRONICLE’S SUNDAY PRINT EDITION.
Bohol marks another milestone in health system development as the groundbreaking for the Gov. CelestinoGallares Memorial Hospital Cortes Campus was held lat Friday.
The largest contract of the Department of Health (DOH) at P1.5 billion, Phase 1 of the state-of-the-art specialized medical care center is set to be completed in 18 months, said DOH Director for Health Facilities Enhancement Program (HFEP) Director Dr. Leonita Gorgolon.
Based on data gathered since 1994, Gallares Hospital has since admitted close to a million patients and served 2 million in outpatient services, hospital chief Dr. Mutya Kismet Tirol-Macuno reported.
Explaining that the expansion of the hospital was therefore imminent, Macuno expressed gratitude to Cong. Edgar Chatto, who as then governor of Bohol, had fathered the project.
During Chatto’s first term, the Provincial Government envisioned the strengthening of Bohol’s health care system, prioritizing the modernization of national and provincial hospitals in the province.
A few months before the October 15, 2013 earthquake, initial steps were taken to modernize Gallares Hospital, the only regional training hospital located in the province.
The 2-phase vertical expansion of Gallares Hospital in Tagbilaran City was undertaken with P555-million funding from the National Budget through DOH.
LAND SALE AND DONATION
On November 8, 2012, the Provincial Government and the National Steel Corporation signed a Deed of Sale for the 206,622 sq.m. parcel of land in Malayo, Cortes.
The Provincial Government signed the Deed of Donation turning over a 5-hectare lot in Cortes to DOH for Gallares Hospital on February 28, 2014.
ROLE OF THE NEDA
Discussions on the project with DOH and the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) continued and in 2016, the proposal to fund the Gallares Hospital Modernization Project in Cortes was approved. It became one of major projects approved during the first NEDA Board Meeting under President Rodrigo RoaDuterte and NEDA Secretary Ernesto Pernia.
Vice Gov. Rene Relampagos, who was the first district congressman at that time, backed the project and authored Republic Act 11324 increasing the bed capacity of Gallares from 225 to 500 and upgrading the services and facilities, signed into law by Duterte on July 23, 2018.
The project was awarded last December and the signing of the contract with R.R. Encabo Constructors Inc. (JV) Grundstein Construction and Development Corporation was held last January 6, and the project site clearing began shortly thereafter.
The world-class medical center is expected to be the main end referral hospital for universal health care, addressing all expertise for medical services for Boholanos, DOH Regional Director Dr. Jaime Bernadas stated, underscoring the importance of a developed province-wide health system.
He also especially acknowledged the strong partnership of the DOH, under the leadership of Secretaries Enrique Ona, Janette Garin, Paulyn Jean Ubial and Francisco Duque, and the Gallares Hospital Administration, with Chiefs of Hospital Dr. Nenita Po, Dr. Jose Arcay and now under Dr. Macuno together with the Provincial Government, from whose vision the project progressed from.
Gov. Art Yap, for his part, expressed commitment towards the strengthening of Bohol’s health care system by undertaking the P400Million Phase 2 of the modernization of the province-operated district hospitals, a follow-through to the initial P150Million investment during Chatto’s term.
Yap also announced plans to expand the Carlos P. Garcia Scholarship Program with a P20-million investment for a medical scholarship, assuring Boholanos that the health care program of the Provincial Government will harmonize with the National Program on Universal Health Care and the 2022 implementation of the Mandanas Ruling on local services funding.
Aside from state-of-the-art infrastructure, equipment and facilities, Chatto also stressed the need to produce local doctors, specialists and consultants through Bohol’s own College of Medicine which Chatto is also pushing through the Bohol Island State University (BISU) in collaboration with GCGMH.
This will make medical education more accessible to qualified and talented young Boholanos who may not have the opportunity of earning a degree in Medical Schools outside Bohol, Chatto said, sharing his favorite saying “Happy are those who dream dreams as long as they are willing to pay the price to make their dreams come true.”
Cortes Mayor Lynn Iven Lim, League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) – Bohol Chapter President and Dauis Mayor Miriam Sumaylo, Tagbilaran City Mayor Baba Yap, Balilihan Mayor Pureza Veloso-Chatto, and San Miguel Mayor Dodong Mendez also graced the groundbreaking ceremony.