No more eviction worries for children's hospital
MANILA, Philippines – It won't be long until the Philippine Children's Medical Center (PCMC) can finally call the land where it stands its own.
On Thursday, February 5, the Department of Health (DOH) and the National Housing Authority (NHA) signed a memorandum of agreement that cements PCMC's claim on its land title.
"This will pave the way for the eventual transfer of the title of this land to PCMC, and because of this, we're assured we will not be evicted," PCMC director Julius Lecciones told Rappler in a phone interview.
Both DOH and NHA agreed to use the 2003 valuation of the PCMC land which is about P900 million ($20.39 million).
The land title will be transferred to DOH after the NHA is paid a partial P500 million ($11.33 million) from PCMC's 2015 budget.
"We pay NHA in tranches, but the transfer of title comes in advance,” Health Secretary Janette Garin told Rappler in a text message.
The rest of the balance (P400 million or $9.06 million) will be annotated at the back of the land title to “protect the interest of NHA to recover the balance.”
The children’s hospital doesn't hold a title to its lot in Quezon City because the NHA had failed to do its part of a land swap in 1992.
NHA also sold part of the hospital's lot to the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS), but later agreed with a Department of Justice (DOJ) decision to cancel the sale.
Some 70,000 children from poor families are accommodated for consultations at PCMC every year, while around 10,000 are confined at the hospital. PCMC specializes in the following:
- Pediatric cancer and blood diseases
- Pediatric neurology and neurosurgery
- Surgery for congenital syndromes
- Orthopedics and bone deformities
- Pulmonary including asthma
- Nephrology and pediatric dialysis
- Cranio-facial syndromes
- Adolescent medicine
The mood was festive during Thursday's signing. Aside from government officials, representatives from different civil society organizations and some of the hospital's staff and patients were present to witness PCMC's "victory."
"It was rocky in the beginning...but this shows that with concerted action from the community in giving voices to patients, mararating din ang ganitong tagumpay (we will also achieve this kind of victory)," Lecciones added.
PCMC's remaining 2015 budget of more than P700 million will be used to upgrade the existing hospital building and to build a new one. Lecciones said the new building will be used by service patients.
"Dapat maging consistent tayo. Sinasabi natin na ang ating talagang pinapaburan ay service patients from the poorer sector, at ito ang spirit [ng] pakikipaglaban [para] sa lupa," he added.
(We have to be consistent. We say we're really favoring service patients from the poorer sector, and this is the spirit behind our fight for the land.) – Rappler.com
*1 US$ = P44.13