Davao Oriental

Funding woes make Davao Oriental ask national government to run hospital

Ferdinand Zuasola

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Funding woes make Davao Oriental ask national government to run hospital

SURGERY. Doctors perform surgery at the Davao Oriental Provincial Medical Center on March 25.

Davao Oriental Provincial Information Office

If approved, it will ensure more resources for the provincial hospital and relieve the capitol of its financial burdens, says Davao Oriental Governor Corazon Malanyaon

DAVAO ORIENTAL, Philippines – Officials in Davao Oriental are pushing for the largest local government-run hospital in the province to be funded and placed under the national government’s control. 

Davao Oriental Governor Corazon Malanyaon said the proposal, if approved, would ensure more resources for the hospital and relieve the capitol of its financial burdens.

“This move would guarantee more funding for the hospital as bigger budget allocations are readily available for national government-run facilities,” Malanyaon said.

The Davao Regional Development Council (RDC) has passed a resolution supporting the proposed transfer of the control and management of the Davao Oriental Provincial Medical Center  (DOPMC) to the national government.

Representative Cheeno Miguel Almario of Davao Oriental’s 2nd District told Rappler on Friday, April 14, that at least 80% of members of the House of Representatives have committed to support a bill he filed for the hospital’s management transfer to the national government.

Department of Budget and Management Assistant Secretary Achilles Gerard Bravo said the proposed hospital management transfer would translate to some P450 million in annual savings for the provincial government.

Local officials said transferring control and management of the DOPMC to the national government would lead to improved healthcare services for the mostly low-income patients in the province who depend on the hospital.

They said it would also allow the capitol to focus on other pressing concerns such as food security, agriculture, and tourism-related projects in the province. 

Almario said he expected the bill to be approved by the Lower House this May.

During the Regional Development Council (RDC) meeting in Mati City on March 24, Malanyaon said the provincial government’s share of the National Tax Allocation (NTA) from the national government was reduced by nearly half a billion pesos this year alone.

She said the NTA reduction affected the provincial government’s finances, which has been aggravated by the capitol’s debt-servicing requirement of almost P400 million annually. 

“These two significant challenges hinder the province’s capacity to maintain such a massive facility,” Malanyaon said.

The DOPMC, according to Malanyaon, has been getting 70% or almost P200 million of the provincial government’s total annual healthcare budget.

She said the capitol was facing a significant financial burden due to the high cost of operating a Level 2 medical facility such as the DOPMC. 

The expenses include surgical and critical care specialty services, as well as the cost of human resources and other medical and operational costs. 

She said the facility has also been holding patients beyond its bed capacity, which adds to the financial strain of the capitol.

“The operation of a large hospital like ours has indeed become a financial burden to the provincial government,” Malanyaon said.

Aside from the DOPMC, the provincial government also manages four more district hospitals and infirmaries. – Rappler.com

Ferdinand Zuasola is an Aries Rufo Journalism fellow.

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