MANILA - Several senators on Monday urged the University of the Philippines (UP) to reconsider its plan to build a hospital in its Diliman campus, saying the medical facility should be located in Los Baños instead.
The planned extension of the UP-Philippine General Hospital should be done in the UP Los Baños campus as there is "no public hospital with a medical school in Southern Luzon," Sen. Cynthia Villar said during a budget hearing in the Senate.
"Maybe we should study also why not build it in UP Los Baños? There are a lot of hospitals in Diliman, but there is none in Southern Tagalog," Villar said.
"There is no public hospital with a medical school in Southern Luzon considering it's a very big region in the Philippines," she said.
Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon backed Villar's proposal, ribbing the senator - whose family owns a real estate company - to help UP build the hospital through a public-private partnership (PPP).
"Maybe we can offer it to the Villar group for a PPP project," Drilon said in jest.
Villar declined, saying her family's business - comprised of residential units and malls - does not specialize in building hospitals and medical facilities.
Aside from the PGH's extension in Diliman, UP is already conducting feasibility studies to construct 2 other government hospitals in Southern Luzon and in Mindanao, UP President Danilo Concepcion told senators during their budget hearing.
"Tatapusin na po namin ang kinakailangan pag-aralan para ito ay ma-implement namin," he said.
(We will just finish the needed studies so we can implement it.)
The UP-PGH's extension is expected to be a 700-bed hospital in Quezon City that will be built in the next 6 years.
The project, initially pegged at P3 billion, was described as a "vertical" expansion that would complement the UP-PGH in the capital city.
"Magkakaroon po siya ng College of Medicine at Cancer Research Center which will use genomics as a tool for finding the cure," Concepcion said.
(It will have a College of Medicine and a Cancer Research Center which will use genomics as a tool for finding the cure.)
"Siguro madodoble natin ang capacity natin... Ito ay magandang preparation na din for the next pandemic," he said.
(Maybe we can double our capacity with this... This will also be a good preparation for the next pandemic.)
In July, the 700-bed UP-PGH was among the hospitals that appealed for help, after declaring that all its wards were already at full capacity due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The UP President also urged senators to restore nearly P1 billion in the university's budget to allow them to continue the following projects:
- Construction of Balay Atleta for student athletes (P300 million)
- Big data analytics program (P150 million)
- Philippine Genomic Information and Resource Hub (P140 million)
- Learning and teaching assistance and academic support for faculty and students (P130 million)
- Renovation of old UP gym (P100 million)
- Improvement of fiber optic network (P100 million)