Children's hospital to get land title by 2015 – NHA
MANILA, Philippines – The National Housing Authority (NHA) on Wednesday, December 17, committed to transfer the land title of the Philippine Children's Medical Center (PCMC) to the Department of Health (DOH) by 2015.
"We agreed to convey the title of the property of which PCMC is located to DOH next year – the entire property, even though the amount will not be fully paid with the funding of P500 million that is being given us [by] DOH under the GAA of 2015,” NHA General Manager Chito Cruz said during a Senate hearing on the issue.
Senator Benigno Aquino IV had earlier directed the NHA to work on transferring the land title to the DOH by Christmas.
The children’s hospital doesn't hold a title to its lot in Quezon City because the NHA had failed to do its part of a land swap in 1992. NHA also sold part of the hospital's lot to another government office.
Some 70,000 children from poor families are accommodated for consultations at PCMC every year, while around 10,000 are confined at the hospital. PCMC specializes in the following:
- Pediatric cancer and blood diseases
- Pediatric neurology and neurosurgery
- Surgery for congenital syndromes
- Orthopedics and bone deformities
- Pulmonary including asthma
- Nephrology and pediatric dialysis
- Cranio-facial syndromes
- Adolescent medicine
On Wednesday, Cruz said they have agreed with a Department of Justice (DOJ) decision to cancel the sale of the portion of the PCMC to the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS).
The NHA has also agreed to continue a 1992 memorandum of agreement which covers the swapping of the PCMC property and DOH's Sambag property in Cebu.
Both NHA and DOH agreed to use the 2003 valuation of the PCMC land which is about P900 million ($20.13 million)*.
With P500 million ($11.18 million) of PCMC’s 2015 budget allocated to the payment of the land, the hospital still has a balance of P400 million ($8.95 million). After an appeal from the NHA, senators on Wednesday said they will “endeavor” to pay the balance under the 2016 budget.
“Senator Guingona and I will support that move to finally close the book on this matter,” Senator Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV said on Wednesday.
Aquino said PCMC has a total budget of P1.226 billion under the 2015 budget:
- P500 million - for partial payment of the land
- P400 million - for upgrading of existing building
- P326 million ($7.29 million) - for equipment, possibly a new wing
Instead of using the rest of the budget to pay the full balance, Acting Secretary Janette Garin said the health department opted to spend more on “direct healthcare" within the hospital.
"Taking into consideration the volume of patients they have been taking care of, not to mention the outpatients and children with cancer that have been coming in and out of PCMC, we deemed it proper for taxpayers' money to be spent more on direct healthcare,” Garin said on Wednesday.
She thanked Senator Aquino and Guingona for a “timely Christmas gift” to PCMC.
Cruz requested for the balance in the deed of sale to be annotated at the back of the land title to “protect the interest of NHA to recover the balance.” He said NHA will shoulder the taxes covering the transfer of the property. – Rappler.com
*1 US$ = P44.71