HOSPITAL SITE. Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri (center), together with Bacolod City Mayor Alfredo Abelardo Benitez (left), Lone District Rep. Greg Gasataya (2nd from left), and Uswag Party-list Rep. James Ang Jr. (3rd from right), leads the groundbreaking rites for the first phase of the construction of the Bacolod City General Hospital in Barangay Vista Alegre on Friday (Sept. 9, 2022). The initial multi-purpose building, worth PHP200 million, is expected to be completed by June next year. (PNA photo by Nanette L. Guadalquiver)

BACOLOD CITY – Residents of this city will soon avail themselves of more affordable quality health care through the establishment of the 100-bed Bacolod City General Hospital expected to operate by 2024.

Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri, who sponsored Republic Act 11564, the law that created the hospital authored by this city’s Lone District Rep. Greg Gasataya, on Friday led the groundbreaking rites for the construction of the first phase of the PHP800 million health facility in Barangay Vista Alegre.

“We are here today to show you our commitment to the health and well-being of the people of Bacolod. With over half a million people of Bacolod City alone, it is high time that we build our own hospital,” Zubiri said in his message.

The first phase, with a project cost of PHP200 million, involves the construction of a multi-purpose building, comprising three separate structures, including a dietary building, a morgue, and a linen and laundry office.

It will be implemented by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) 6 (Western Visayas) through contractor AM Oreta Construction/International Builders Corp. joint venture.

DPWH-6 Director Nerie Bueno said the multi-purpose building would house the various facilities that would support the operation of the government-owned hospital.

“If the weather permits, we hope to finish this project by June of 2023,” she added.

The construction of the four-story main hospital building, which will cost at least PHP600 million, will be implemented by the Department of Health (DOH) 6.

“The original design is for PHP600 million. The main hospital that will be funded by the DOH, we will channel it to local government unit. They will implement it. The LGU will take charge of the procurement and the construction,” DOH-6 Director Adriano Suba-an said.

During the ceremonies, Suba-an and Mayor Alfredo Abelardo Benitez signed a memorandum of agreement for the transfer of the PHP250 million fund from the DOH - Health Facilities Enhancement Program to the city government.

He said 60 percent of the amount would be released after the signing of the agreement.

Benitez said the Bacolod City General Hospital is a much-awaited health care facility for Bacolodnons.

“One of our major concerns is the delivery of health services. This will surely benefit the people of Bacolod. They will no longer crowd the regional hospital and will no longer go to the provincial hospital,” he added.

In Bacolod, the other government hospital is the DOH’s Corazon Locsin Montelibano Regional Hospital while in neighboring Silay City, the province owns and operates the Teresita L. Jalandoni Provincial Hospital.

Zubiri said the establishment of the Bacolod City General Hospital would accomplish two things.

“It will decongest the existing hospitals in the city and our regional hospital. It will also give our constituents quality health care that is more affordable than private hospitals. We are giving our people a better chance of availing public health services,” he added.

Zubiri said to see the completion of the main hospital building, he would source funds that would be added to the amount allocated by the DOH.

“That’s my commitment. Another PHP400 million to complete the hospital. Let’s finish it next year. Before 2024 starts, we will have a new hospital with complete equipment and facilities,” he said.

The Bacolod City General Hospital will rise on the almost four-hectare lot donated by the Gensoli family.

The city government had earlier agreed with the Exellion Agri and Realty Corp. and Bukid Agri Ventures, Inc., represented by Gloria Gensoli, to formalize the donation. (PNA)