A PRESS release emailed to the media on July 6 by the City Information Office (CIO) was bannered “Mayor BSL assures construction of city government-run hospital”. It said: “Preparations are underway for the proposed construction of a city government-run Children and Maternity Hospital, according to Mayor Benjamin S. Lim. Then Mayor Lim disclosed that the Department of Education has given the green for the city to proceed with the project.”
But DepEd officials of Dagupan said there has been no order from the department’s head office to transfer the students of Juan P. Guadiz Elementary School, which Lim intends to use as the hospital site. But even with a transfer order, there has been no identified place yet where the students will be relocated. It is reassuring that City Schools Superintendent Alma Ruby Torio and William Macob, education program officer and OIC administrative officer of the City School Division, have said that they have no intention of leaving the children out in the rain even if City Hall succeeds in getting the DepEd’s go signal without a determined relocation area with classrooms where the student’s academic schedule will not be unduly disrupted. Let’s hope our city education officials, when push comes to shove, stand firm on their position. Apart from the matter of location and the apparent misplaced priority vis-a-vis education, the planned hospital is also bugged with many other issues such as the absence of feasibility studies that would show costs of equipment and building, amount of annual subsidy from the city’s budget, etc.
Moreover, in the same PR from CIO, Lim was quoted as boldly saying that “with or without the P50 million, I will start with the construction of the building.” It is foolish – rather than brave nor politically-determined as the CIO seems to want to project the mayor to be – to plunge into a project without funding. And the mayor would be making an even bigger fool of the public if he does not explain what that P50 million cost would actually cover. Does it even include the cost for relocating the affected school children?
And to begin with, there is no emergency to warrant a new hospital. There are alternatives such as expanding the PhilHealth coverage of the city’s indigents if the mayor sincerely wants to improve health care. Or if the mayor really, really thinks building the hospital is a matter of urgency, why doesn’t he use the abandoned MC Adore building at the heart of Dagupan which was already paid for by the people’s money under Lim’s administration?
* * * * * *
Let GMA lap it up
GLORIA Macapagal-Arroyo has been freed after almost eight months in detention for alleged election sabotage in the 2007 senatorial election in Maguindanao. Burgos-born (Pangasinan) Judge Jesus Mupas of the Regional Trial Court of Pasay City granted GMA’s petition for bail of P1 million, which the former president and now Pampanga representative had paid in cash.
“Thank God (I’m free),” said Arroyo upon arrival at her La Vista home in Q.C. after a short trip from the Veterans Hospital where she had been detained since November18, 2011. But she might be back in hospital arrest sooner than expected, this time for plunder over P366 million in sweepstakes intelligence funds that allegedly went missing during Arroyo’s watch.
But for now, let GMA lap it up. Any kind of freedom, however short-lived it might be, is always valued by the human spirit. Like shelter amid pouring rain, it gives the soul satisfaction of enormous proportions.