Palace: PGH may tap presidential social fund after fire, DPWH to repair damages

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 17) — The Philippine General Hospital may access the presidential social fund to pay for repairs of damage from a recent fire, Malacañang said, emphasizing President Rodrigo Duterte’s commitment to help the state-run facility.

“Doc Legaspi, kung ano kailangan niyo sabihin niyo lang,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said, addressing PGH Director Gap Legaspi during his recent Palace briefing. “Dati na siya nag-offer ng mas malaking mahalaga so kung ano ang kinakailangan ngayon para ma-repair ang mga damage eh pwede pong i-tap yung presidential social fund.”

[Translation: Doc [Gap] Legaspi, just tell us whatever it is that you need. He (Duterte) already offered a bigger amount before, so whatever amound is needed for the repairs, the presidential social fund can be tapped.]

Roque recalled how the chief executive himself, early in his term, offered PGH ₱100 million a month in aid. However, he noted that the PGH is only able to utilize ₱25 million monthly due to its “limited” absorptive capacity

READ: Duterte pledges anew ₱100-M a month in aid to PGH

Legaspi explained during the briefing that the ₱25 million regular monthly support is subject to liquidation and renewal of contracts, and that they’re currently awaiting the contract for the coming months to get renewed.

The PGH chief likewise reiterated their plea to resume COVID-19 response operations after a day since they are still stabilizing the transfer of patients and clearing up areas which still smell of smoke.

READ: PGH eyes reopening this week after Sunday fire incident

Roque also assured that the Department of Public Works and Highways will handle works on the hospital’s burnt areas.

Syempre po top priority ng DPWH yung pagr-repair ng damage sa PGH,” he added.

[Translation: Of course the repairing of PGH’s damages is the DPWH’s top priority.]

In a privilege speech on Monday, Senator Richard Gordon, who is also Philippine Red Cross chairman, called on the Government Service Insurance System to promptly address possible insurance claims so restoration works in the hospital will not be delayed.

He also urged the Senate to endorse the immediate construction of the planned PGH in UP Diliman to make sure more Filipinos will be able to avail of medical services.

"Maswerte tayo na hindi naman natupok 'yung buong building, but that's enough warning to all of us [We're lucky the whole building wasn't burned down, but that's enough warning to all of us," he said, adding that the PGH is also congested.

The fire in PGH broke out early Sunday morning, which was doused at 5:41 a.m. according to fire protection officials. The Manila local government said no one got hurt nor died from the incident.