The rebuilding of the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) almost forty years ago today was “one of the best good things” that former First Lady Imelda Romualdez Marcos has done for her country, according to Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr.
Locsin, a former harsh critic of the Marcoses especially in the years leading to the February 1986 EDSA People Power revolution, made this comment in the wake of reports that a part of the PGH was hit by fire early Sunday morning.
“One of the best things Imelda did was rebuild PGH better. She had no authority but she did it. That was one of the charges against her. I think it is still there. Technical malfeasance is impossible to get dismissed or no one bothered to thank,” Locsin tweeted.
Mrs. Marcos, wife of former President Ferdinand E. Marcos, was the minister of Human Settlements and governor of Metro Manila when in 1981 she commissioned Architect J. Ramos to undertake the master planning and the eventual rebuilding of the historic hospital.
Locsin was correct in saying that the PGH was only “one” of the many landmark projects that were constructed under the auspices of the former First Lady.
In fact, many other important infrastructure projects closely associated with Mrs. Marcos are still very much in use up to this day, such as the iconic Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) building on Roxas Boulevard, the Philippine Heart Center, the Lung Center of the Philippines, the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), and the Coconut Palace to name a few.
The PGH was originally opened to the public during the United States occupation in September 1910 and played a critical role during World War II where wounded Filipinos, Americans and even Japanese soldiers were treated despite depleted resources at that time.
When COVID 19 (coronavirus disease 2019) pandemic struck in February last year, the government designated PGH as one of the first main Covid-19 referral centers in the country. It allocated at least 130 beds for Covid patients while continuing to treat other ailments.
The 91-year-old former First Lady, meanwhile, served as congresswoman from 2010 to 2019 representing the second district of Ilocos Norte while her daughter Imee Marcos is now an incumbent Senator of the Republic. Talks are flying that her only son, former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. is being groomed to run for president in the 2022 presidential race.