(Feature) Speaker Belmonte recalls what prompted him to sponsor the law expanding the bed capacity of EAMC in 1997

December 21, 2015 12:39 pm 

By Leilani S. Junio

MANILA, Dec. 18 (PNA) — House Speaker Feliciano R. Belmonte Jr. recalled on Friday what prompted him to sponsor Republic Act No. 8345 which expanded the bed capacity and facilities of the East Avenue Medical Center (EAMC) in Quezon City.

The law was signed on Aug. 25, 1997 by then President Fidel V. Ramos. Its primary purpose was to increase the bed capacity of the hospital from 350 to 600 beds, upgrade its service facilities and professional care therein, and appropriate funds thereof.

Belmonte, who was not yet the Speaker at that time, said the real reason that convinced him to author the bill that eventually became R.A. 8345 was to make it as a sort of “defensive measure” for the part of the EAMC and in anticipation also that the hospital would continue to grow as years go by.

The House Speaker made the disclosure in his speech during the inauguration of the expanded and renovated auditorium of the EAMC at the 7th Floor of the hospital building together with a wellness facility garden area.

“Let me tell you this… I suddenly realized it when looking today at the sides from the roof, that the real reason was there were some politicians who wanted then to get all of the empty spaces here (referring to the vast land area around the compound of EAMC)…,” Belmonte said.

He narrated that the said politicians at that time were lobbying to get sizable portions of the vacant area around the hospital on the ground that the medical facility would not be needing it.

“And so that inspired me to sponsor the bill increasing the capacity of this hospital (EAMC) as a defensive measure and in anticipation that it will continue to grow,” he said.

The expanded and renovated hospital auditorium was named “Speaker Feliciano R. Belmonte Jr. Auditorium" in recognition of Belmonte's vast contribution to the enhancement and improvement of the services and facilities of the hospital.

Belmonte admitted that he was reluctant at first to accept the honor because he believed that it would be more fitting to name it after President Benigno S. Aquino III.

“Binubulungan ko nga si Roland (Dr. Cortez), sabi ko sana sa Presidente na ipinangalan, di sa kamukha ko… Really, I feel undeserving of it,” he said.

However, the House Speaker still humbly accepted the decision of the EAMC led by its Medical Director, Dr. Roland L. Cortez.

“Maraming salamat for this great honor and I would like to say thank you to Director Roland… Since none of you protested, maraming salamat for not protesting and being supportive and to everybody else,” the House Speaker said with a slight joke as he ended his speech.

Dr. Cortez said that naming the auditorium after Belmonte is a recognition of the latter's efforts in pushing for reforms in the hospital to enable it to fulfill its mission and goals.

Meanwhile, the House Speaker also gave remarkable words to the medical center chief by lauding his untiring dedication and perseverance in pursuing enhancement of the hospital facilities and for bringing better services to the clients — the Filipino people.

In comparison, the hospital is now very far from the way it was perceived to be by those going to the government hospital several years ago.

There are various facilities and services that can be seen and enjoyed within that truly serve its purpose of bringing quality health care not experienced before by people going in and out there.

Some of these facilities are modernized eye center facility, skin derma clinic, snoring center, new laboratories, dental health center, trauma section, oxygen production plant, new wards, birthing rooms and others.

Belmonte noted that the aggressive and good leadership of the medical center chief in looking for ways to source out financing has contributed also to the status of EAMC such as high quality standard of providing medical care.

Providing high quality standard medical care is the vision of the current administration of President Benigno S. Aquino III who wants to ensure that every Filipino has access to universal health care under the "Kalusugang Pangkalahatan" concept.

The hospital is serving more than a thousand patients everyday, many of them coming from other parts of the country.

The EAMC was formerly known as GSIS General Hospital established in 1969. In 1978, by virtue of Presidential Decree No. 1411, it was transformed to Hospital ng Bagong Lipunan (HBL) and transferred to the then Ministry of Health.

During the time of President Corazon C. Aquino, the HBL was renamed as East Avenue Medical Center (EAMC) in 1986. (PNA)

SCS/LSJ/RSM

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