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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Senator Guingona Seeks Legal Opinion on Donation of Lot to Hospital

 Sen. Teofisto L Guingona III, chairman of the Senate health and demography committee, will ask the Department of Justice (DOJ) to render a legal opinion on whether the National Housing Authority (NHA) could donate 3.7 hectares of its land on Agham Road in Quezon City to the Philippine Children’s Medical Center (PCMC) which it currently occupies. While he expects to sit down with DOJ Secretary Leila de Lima on the issue and hopes that a legal opinion might be issued before the year ends, Guingona said he would also study whether a proclamation by President Aquino might be feasible to resolve the land titling issue.
“What is important is that before Christmas, there is a clear opinion. We will talk with Secretary de Lima so we can have a sense on how fast they can issue an opinion,’’ he said.
He also assured that the PCMC would not be evicted by the NHA.
Guingona gave his support for the upgrading of the PCVMC facilities by stating that “there is a P13 billion budget under the Health Facilities and Enhancement Program for infrastructure and equipment for hospitals throughout the country and hope we can budget some for PCMC.’’
“But the goal is for PCMC to get the lot (30,700 square meters),’’ he added.
During the committee hearing presided by Guingona, Sen. Loren Legarda urged the NHA to donate to the PCMC the land that the hospital currently occupies.
Legarda said she hopes that the matter would be resolved before the year ends so that the PCMC can focus on expanding its services to benefit more indigent Filipino patients.
“There is nothing in the NHA charter that would prevent it from donating the title of the lot on which PCMC facilities now stand. If not on the NHA’s own accord, there are precedent cases of Presidential Proclamations issued to effect lot donations to and from government agencies,” she said.

The PCMC is mandated to provide pediatric care, offer training programs for medical and allied health care providers, and be a center in clinical research. It treats over 70,000 patients annually, most of who come from poor families.
Since its creation in 1979, the PCMC has been asking the national government to either donate or finance the transfer of the title to the original 63,656-square meter property the hospital is built on to its name. The title is currently with the NHA.
After the NHA has made use of most of the 6.3 hectares, the total area left for PCMC is now down to 3.7 hectares.
Meanwhile, Legarda expressed support for the expansion of PCMC’s current facilities and urged the hospital’s officials to submit their “wishlist” to the Senate finance committee.
She also expressed hopes that PCMC would soon have a facility in Visayas and Mindanao.
“We want to ensure that the PCMC is given adequate budget for expansion, purchase of equipment and upgrading of facilities so that it can provide the best medical care to our indigent Filipino children,” she said.
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