Japan envoy to lead groundbreaking for Aurora hospital, bridge inauguration

January 20, 2011 11:51 am 

By Gloria Jane Baylon

MANILA, Jan. 19 — Ground will be broken on Thursday, January 20, for the Aurora Memorial hospital in Reserva, Baler, Aurora province, officiated by Japanese Ambassador to Manila, Makoto Katsura, and Philippine officials.

It would be the only hospital in Aurora that can perform surgical procedures, thus reducing the number of patients transferred to other provinces.

The cost of constructing the 50-bed capacity hospital, placed at Y1.09 billion (about P509 million), is from Japan’s Grant Aid Program.

Once completed, Aurora Memorial Hospital is seen to qualify as a teaching hospital for the University of the Philippines Manila-School of Health Sciences (UPM-SHS),

As a teaching hospital for the UPM-SHS, the province expects that the number of health professionals working and practicing in Aurora Province will vastly increase.

On the same day, Katsura will also officiate at the inauguration of the Japan-funded Bazal Bridge in Barangay Maria Aurora in the province.

The cost of constructing Bazal Bridge is Y530 Million (about P270 million) under Japan’s General Grant Aid Program.

The 110-meter long bridge connects Barangays Bazal and Malasin, and is expected to impact on the transportability of agricultural products and commercial goods as well as improve the access between target agrarian reform communities (ARCs) with other expanded ARCs.

The embassy said it hopes the infrastructure would generate additional income for farmer-beneficiaries and ultimately upgrade the socio-economic and environmental conditions in the area.

The bridge will also directly benefit not only the students and staff of the Aurora State College-Bazal Campus, but also the more than 2,000 local residents of Bazal and surrounding areas.

The municipality of Maria Aurora and its surrounding municipalities will substantially benefit from the project especially during heavy rains and typhoon months when some communities in Barangay Bazal become isolated, the embassy projected.

The Bazal Bridge is a collaborative project of the Provincial Government of Aurora, the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the municipality of Maria Aurora.

Katsura will be joined in the bridge site by Senator Edgardo J. Angara, Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgilio Delos Reyes and Governor Bella Angara-Castillo.

Funding the bridge project is Japan’s way of supporting the development goals of the Philippine government’s Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), the embassy said.

It is a mechanism to alleviate farmers’ struggles by assisting projects aimed at strengthening infrastructure improvement and socio-economic development in rural areas for many decades, it added.

A major project under CARP that is being assisted by the Japanese Government through its Yen loan scheme is the Agrarian Reform Infrastructure Project Three (ARISP III), which has empowered farmer beneficiaries in 358 ARCs nationwide.

The Bazal bridge is a support service project to supplement the unmet needs of agrarian reform beneficiaries not covered by the ARISP III program, it explained.

Angara, Health Secretary Enrique Ona, and Angara-Castillo join Katsura at the groundbreaking.

The hospital project has five sub-components: hospital building complex, utilities development, procurement of office furniture and equipment, site development and demolition of the existing buildings.

The embassy noted that shortages of medical facilities and human resources in Aurora Province is more pronounced than the rest of the Philippines.

This resulted in very high infant and maternal mortality rates, the highest in Region III in 2002. The project “aims to address these difficulties and improve medical services in the Province, by constructing and equipping a Level-2 hospital in Baler City, capital of Aurora provincial.

The hospital would provide Level 2 medical services by specialist doctors in Internal Medicine, Surgery, Ob-Gyne, Pediatrics and EENT Departments.

Aurora Memorial Hospital would be transformed into a departmentalized hospital that will provide general and complete specialty clinical care, including full nursing services.

The embassy expressed that the Government of Japan “considers the health sector as one of the most important fields of humanitarian assistance, because health related issues is a major challenge in the way of economic development and meeting basic human needs.” <p”For many decades, Japan has continuously provided unwavering support to the health sector in the Philippines,” the embassy stated. “This project serves as a continuing testimony of strategic partnership between Japan and the Philippines.”

Japan is the Philippines' largest source of ODA and has been a long-time friend and partner in nationwide socio-economic development. (PNA)

LAM/GJB

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