Co upbeat over speedy progress of UP-PGH Cancer Center project

A ranking House of Representatives member has hailed the quick progress of the University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH) Cancer Center public-private partnership (PPP) project, even as he assured the government’s commitment to the endeavor.

AKO BICOL Party-list Rep. Zaldy Co (Screenshot from YouTube live)

"We are elated that the UP-PGH Cancer Center PPP project is moving forward through the Phase 2 process just several weeks after the NEDA (National Economic and Development Authority) Board gave its approval," AKO BICOL Party-list Rep. Zaldy Co said in a statement Monday, March 6.

Co, chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations, had this to say after getting wind that over 60 bidders and prospective investors who have expressed interest in the bidding process for the UP-PGH Cancer Center.

The UP-PGH Cancer Center PPP project has a 30-year build-transfer-operate (BTO) timeline and has an estimated project cost of up to P6 billion.

"This project was among the many activities delayed by the Covid pandemic. NEDA approval was supposed to happen in July 2021 but finally happened in February 2023," Co said.

"But now that the state of calamity was not extended beyond yearend 2022 and now that the economy is well on its way to make up for lost time, we are confident the UP-PGH Cancer Center PPP project will advance at the proper pace," the House leader said.

According to Co, the UP-PGH Cancer Center is designed to have up to 300 beds capacity, of which 150 beds will be for charity patients while at least 50 beds will be for paying patients.

The cancer center building will be located near the corner across Padre Faura Street from the Department of Justice (DOJ) compound and near the shopping mall there.

The building will be 20 storeys tall and will include a roof terrace level, a ground level, three levels for parking, four levels for patient rooms, four levels for patient wards, and six levels for medical facilities.

It will also have bunker accommodations for patients’ watchers and for PGH personnel.

To support UP-PGH this year, Co said Congress appropriated P500 million for completion of a multi-specialty building on the UP-PGH grounds, P700 million for repair and rehabilitation of buildings, nearly P127 million for hazard pay of healthcare frontliners there, P828.27 million for medical assistance for indigent patients, P114 million to increase the carrying capacity of the College of Medicine, and P12.9 million for increasing the carrying capacity of the School of Health Sciences.

"Note that all that are on top of the UP-PGH budget for medical services at P5.412 billion," Co said, adding that the total UP system budget was pegged at P24.263 billion.