DOH wants PGH row resolved soon

March 2, 2010 10:57 pm 

MANILA, March 2 – Health Secretary Esperanza Cabral said the Department of Health (DOH) is ready to intervene or negotiate in the appointment of new director of the Philippine General Hospital (PGH), which led medical workers to picket on Tuesday.

Cabral, in a radio interview, said the DOH hoped the dispute in PGH would be resolved soon as it feared that such interruptions in PGH operations would also affect the extension of health services to the people.

The protest action stemmed from the appointment of Dr. Rolando Enrique Domingo, replacing director Dr. Jose Gonzales, as PGH director.

The protesters, which included UP faculty, staff, students and patients of the hospital want Domingo ousted from his position.

The University of the Philippines Board of Regents (BOR), the highest policy-making and governing body of the national university, appointed Domingo as new PGH director on Feb. 25.

The BOR, in a statement, said Domingo appointment was unanimous, with six regents voting in favor and none against. Three regents abstained. His appointment took effect immediately.

The election of Domingo came after the BOR voted to consider and, thereafter, grant a protest made by Regent Abraham F. Sarmiento against its earlier vote, during its 1252nd Meeting on Dec. 18, 2009, electing Dr. Jose Gonzales as PGH director, replacing Dr. Carmelo Alfiler, whose second term as Director expired on Dec. 31, 2009.

Regent Sarmiento’s protest was anchored on the disqualification of the former Student Regent Charisse Bernadine Bañez, as of the Dec. 18 Board meeting, due to her having failed to enroll as a student. This disqualifed her from sitting as a Student Regent.

The protest was made verbally almost immediately after the vote on Gonzales and before the meeting ended. The vote on Gonzales was a 6-5 vote, thus making the former Student Regent’s vote decisive. Regent Sarmiento subsequently followed up the verbal protest with a formal protest in writing, submitted to the BOR in time for its 1253rd Meeting on Jan. 29, 2010.

In granting the protest, the Board first reconsidered its December 2009 decision to allow the former Student Regent to vote. Thereafter, the Board decided on the validity or nullity of the December 2009 elections which resulted in the selection of Gonzales as PGH Director; the Board voted, by a majority, to declare the December 2009 election void. After this, the Board elected from the three original nominees, namely, Alfiler, Gonzales and Domingo.

Dr. Ramon Arcadio, Chancellor of UP Manila, when reached for comment, said in text messages forwarded to constituents of UP Manila and PGH, that the BOR resolution appointing Domingo is executory, but he recognized the right of Gonzales to appeal or protest.

Arcadio expressed the hope, however, that everyone would be reminded that there were more things that unite rather than divide them. He appealed for sobriety for the sake of the patients, students and the public which PGH serves.

Domingo said in a radio interview he accepted the nomination of PGH as he said there were important matters in the hospital that needed attention and resolutions.

The new director said he was committed in getting rid of non-functioning and old equipment, and hospital debt which has been a long-standing issue in the government hospital. (PNA) RMA/FMB

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