NOW THAT the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) are over, we believe that our local lawmakers (councilors) in Davao City should take a respite in their activities on strengthening their political base and expanding their influence in every barangay in their district.
They should go back to work to craft ordinances that will affect every resident of the city. Primarily, we are looking at the possible ordinance that will establish a city-owned hospital that can serve the health needs of its constituents, especially those most marginalized. So far, Davao City is one highly urbanized local government unit (LGU) with no hospital of its own. Our disadvantaged population has nowhere to go when hit by misfortune on their health. They have to go to the overcrowded Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) which by its mandate has to cater to patients not only from Davao City but also from other provinces in the Southern Philippines.
The last time we heard about the Davao City Hospital project was when Congressman Isidro Ungab mentioned in a media interview that a plan is being hatched to establish a University of the Philippines – Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH) extension in Davao City and that it could be tied up with a city-owned hospital. In the same interview the congressman who is a UP graduate, mentioned a feasibility study being commissioned by the city to find out the viability of operating such a health institution. After that, we did not hear anything about the outcome of the study.
Was there really a feasibility study conducted? It’s been many months ago after we saw that interview on television but so far no outcome has been publicized. It is very ironic that a city earning over ten billion pesos a year and claiming to have no pending debts from any financial institution doubts its capability to operate its own hospital.
We think that the City Council of Davao, with the councilor handling the Health Committee taking the initiative, should now look deeper into the saga of the hospital project. They should be able to trace back in time any and all records in the Sangguniang Panlungsod pertaining to any discussions by the previous Councils to establish the hospital. It is from there that they can pursue aggressively the implementation of the project instead of just being content with having the city fund the Lingap program where only those patients who have friends or relatives who have “contacts” and the luxury of time have a better chance of getting assistance.
How much money does the city spend annually to fund the Lingap Center? Can the amount be factored into the funding of the establishment and operation of a city hospital? Yes, it is on these aspects that we are pursuing the idea of the city government running its own hospital and siphoning the budget for the “politicized” Lingap to the hospital operation.
It is nice to know that the LGU of Davao City has reconstituted the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) to address issues and respond to the needs of reintegrating former rebels and other violent extremists who have decided to return to the fold of the government. Under Executive Order No. 33 issued by the city mayor, the moribund ad hoc unit under the Mayor’s Office that was once handling the coordination of activities pertaining to the reintegration of former rebels into the mainstream society will be revived to do exactly what was mandated of the committee when it was created a few years back.
So far, this move by the Office of the Mayor is the first ever significant decision in his first year of governance. We are certain that if the newly reconstituted body will be true to its mandate and the City Government responds accordingly to the suggestions and/or recommendation of E-CLIP many more rebels and members of anti-government forces will be encouraged to quit their movement.
Mayor Baste Duterte was well advised on this action and we wish for the success of the E-CLIP.
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