By Charissa Luci-Atienza
Lawmakers are seeking the establishment of the Philippine Children’s Medical Center (PCMC) in Iloilo City and Davao City to cater to the medical needs of children in Visayas and Mindanao.
Iloilo Reps. Raul Tupas of the 5th district, Lorenz Defensor of the 3rd district, and Michael Gorriceta of the 2nd district have filed House Bill No. 6140 to establish PCMC for Visayas and Mindanao as “constituent units” of the PCMC in Quezon City.
“The bill aims to establish speciailized medical centers and provide a full range of health care services to children in the Visayas and Mindanao,” they said in the bill’s explanatory note.
They said only residents of Metro Manila and nearby provinces are able to avail of the government’s sponsored medical care for infants and children through the PCMC in Quezon City.
“With the ever increasing population of the Visayas and Mindanao, it is imperative for the government to establish medical centers in the said regions that will cater to the medical needs of children specially from poor families,” the Iloilo lawmakers said.
Formerly known as the Lungsod ng Kabataan, the PCMC was established under Presidential Decree No. 1631 on August 10, 1979, they noted.
Tupas said cities of Iloilo and Davao are ideal locations for the children’s medical center because of its proximity to other provinces.
“The establishment of the PCMC-Visas and PCMC-Mindanao will alleviate the plight of parents and children in these regions of additional costs and burden of travelling to Quezon City in order to avail of the medical services of PCMC,” he said.
“These medical centers will ensure the availability and accessibility of medical services for children in the Visayas and Mindanao. It will also enable the children to avail of the specialised health care for the prevention and treatment of pediatric diseases,” he added.
House Bill No. 6140 provides the establishment of a P150-bed PCMC-Visayas in Iloilo City and PCMC- Mindanao in Davao City. The creation of the medical centers shall be under the supervision of the Department of Health (DOH), it said.
Under the bill, the PCMC-Visayas and the PCMC-Mindanao shall be headed by a Medical Director who shall be appointed by the President of the Philippines upon the recommendation of the PCMC’s existing Board of Trustees.
HB 6140 mandates the Board to ensure that the PCMC-Visayas and PCMC-Mindanao shall adopt and enforce a program for indigents.
“The number of the beds allocated for indigent patients shall not be less than 40 percent of the total number of hospital beds,” the bill said.
The measure calls for an initial funding of P10 billion for the establishment, initial operation and maintenance of the PCMC-Visayas and PCMC-Mindanao. Thereafter, sum sum as may be necessary for the continued operation and maintenance of the PCMC-Visayas and PCMC-Mindanao shall be included in the annual General Appropriations Act, it said.
The Secretary of Helath, in consultation with the Board, shall formulate the implementing rules and regulations of the proposed Act, the measure said.