PH Red Cross calls for immediate ‘overhaul’ of PGH after fire

Published May 17, 2021, 11:59 AM

by Merlina Hernando-Malipot

After promptly responding to the fire that broke out at the Philippine General Hospital (PGH), the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) called for the “overhaul” of the state-owned hospital.


PRC Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Senator Richard Gordon, in an ANC interview on Monday, May 17, said that there is a need to overhaul the PGH – especially its electrical system and the building itself.

“It’s a very scary situation, we have seven floor and if you have to evacuate patients, if the fire goes bigger, you really have to make sure that all the hospitals will accept [them],” Gordon said.

(Photo from Manila DRRM)

Still awake when the fire broke out in PGH on May 16, Gordon said that PRC alerted all the ambulances of the Red Cross in Manila which is about over 40 ambulances in case there is a need to evacuate. “I was ready to bring them also to the emergency medical field hospital which is not full right now we could put them there as well,” he added.

Gordon said that after the fire, “now is the time” to fix PGH. “It is a 1,500-bed hospital, the biggest hospital in the country with very exquisite equipment, you know robotic surgery, they have microscope operations, and certainly when you stop that in Metro Manila, magkakagulo tayo,” he explained.

Aside from getting the insurance, Gordon said that there is a need for the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to come in and conduct immediate repairs.

“There must be an overhaul not just of the area but of the whole PGH complex because it’s many, many years old – the last renovation was done in 1985,” he added.

To prevent that future events, Gordon said that “we have to make sure that we have to really overhaul the electrical system of the hospital – circuit breakers are affected and you really have to take a look at all that and of course, the protection and prevention of fires.”

Meanwhile, Gordon said that it is also about time the government explore a public-private partnership for PGH. “You know, you could be innovative by having the private sector, for instance, take a particular ward and fix it,” he added.

Philippine General Hospital (Photo from UP)

In the aftermath of the fire, PGH has been asking for donations. “People are concerned, that [PGH] is servicing the entire Metro Manila are, for that matter – the whole country and it is the best government hospital in the country,” Gordon said.

However, Gordon noted that the government should be the one spend for it. He noted the need for the calamity fund to be put into focus immediately.

“Nothing should be spared, this is your chance now to fix up PGH – not just his third floor,” Gordon said – noting that there are other damages that would compromise not just the equipment but also the records.

Philippine Red Cross responds to the fire at the PGH (Photo from PRC)

“I think providing donations is a way of alleviating our pain that we might lose PGH but really it’s the government’s responsibility and it’s about time that you start going on public and private partnerships,” Gordon ended.