BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines – Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia thanked Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri for filing Senate Bill No. 1647 establishing a general hospital that will be called the “Bacolod City General Hospital (BCGH),” a press release from Bacolod City PIO said.
Senate Bill No. 1647 is the counterpart of House Bill No. 6731 authored by Bacolod Rep. Greg Gasataya, which was approved by the House of Representatives last June 3.
“The establishment of the BCGH is a partnership between Mayor Bing Leonardia, Cong. Greg Gasataya, and myself to address this problem in Bacolod City and finally build this hospital for the people of Bacolod City,” Zubiri said in a press release yesterday.
Leonardia, in a phone call with Zubiri today, appealed to the senator to work on the maximum participation of the national government in the establishment of the hospital, plus its maintenance and operation.
“We would prefer the national government to fund much of this project, because it would be burdensome for the local government. We would like to lessen the expenses of the city,” Leonardia added, as he reiterated one of their campaign promises in 2019, which is to work on maximizing the national assistance in this project.
Zubiri, in response, promised the mayor to amend the bill and allocate a budget for it in 2021. The senator also said that he will involve the local government officials during the public hearing of the bill.
“This will be my next flagship project for Bacolod,” said Zubiri, who had earlier promised a P163-million museum for the city.
In the same press release, Zubiri said, “The whole province of Negros Occidental shares only one tertiary government hospital. This is unthinkable, given how Bacolod City alone has a population of over half a million people.”
In the 2015 national census, Bacolod City had 561,875 residents, making it the most populated city in Western Visayas, the senator said, adding that the Bacolod residents are serviced by the Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital (CLMMRH), which caters to the whole of Negros Occidental at only a 400-bed capacity.
The senator added: “The people of Bacolod have a right to proper health care services, and I’m with them on that. I am committed not only to pushing for the passage of this bill, but also to making the necessary budget allocations once it’s passed the legislative gauntlet.”
Leonardia said this project would not have started without Gasataya sponsoring the bill in Congress.
“It was Congressman Greg Gasataya who gave flesh to our Grupo Progreso campaign promise to establish a national government-funded hospital here in Bacolod City,” the mayor stressed.
He added that the Bacolod hospital will accomplish two things: One, it will provide quality and accessible health care to the residents of Bacolod; and two, it can cater to more local patients hence, the CLMMRH can attend more closely to its patients.
Leonardia said that with the combined effort of Zubiri and Gasataya, and with the full support of the city government, he is optimistic that the Bacolod City General Hospital will be realized soon.*/CITY PIO