- CHERYL G. CRUZ
Bacolod Mayor Alfredo Benitez said his administration is planning to establish “mini hospitals or super health centers” in five target areas in the city, with the first two to rise in the Arao Relocation Site in Vista Alegre, and in Cabug.
The three others are being planned in barangays Mandalagan and Alijis, and at the Bacolod Reclamation area, Benitez said in his first 100 Days Report delivered at the Government Center Oct. 8.
The mayor said the mini hospitals will be equipped with ultrasound facility, minor surgical rooms and wards, and laboratories.
“The cornerstone of our campaign for change in Bacolod is our health program,” Benitez stressed, adding that the city launched the e-Konsulta project Sept. 12 to provide access to preventive, promotive, and curative medical services.
“As we upgrade our health system, every Bacolodnon has the privilege to avail of free annual checkups in health centers” through this community-based healthcare system, he added.
He also presented the initial 17 Bacolod Comprehensive Health Program, or BacCHP, cardholders Saturday, adding that these residents can avail of services, hassle-free, in partner-hospitals of the city.
BacCHP beneficiaries can just present their cards for hospital admission and will immediately be accommodated, without going through any politician or paying a deposit, and their bills also will be taken care of by the city, Benitez said.
The mayor initially signed memoranda of agreement with the Metro Bacolod Hospital and Medical Center, and the South Bacolod General Hospital and Medical Center Sept. 15 for the BacCHP trial run for six months.
Benitez said there are 53,063 BacCHP card applications. He earlier said prescreening is being done in the barangays to ensure that the initial 10,000 target beneficiaries really belong to the poorest of the poor.
He said the city also “reinforced the manpower of the City Health Office by adding six new doctors, out of the 17 we plan to hire.”
On his Good Governance agenda, Benitez said the city is now implementing “a strict monitoring of procurement cost, based on reasonable prices, so as to ensure the proper, efficient and judicious spending of government funds.”
As per the recommendation of the Good Governance Committee, that was created via Executive Order No. 1 that Benitez issued July 1, a strict implementation of the liquidation procedures of cash advances, pursuant to Commission on Audit Circular No. 97-002, series of 1997, has been implemented and to be observed by all accountable officers in charge of the cash advances in their respective departments.
“This administration will no longer allow cash advances by the millions to employees with low salary grades,” Benitez said.
He said the city also legitimized market tenants through the awarding of Certificates of Recognition. There are now 1,261 recognized tenants in the three main public markets of the city, and 23 lessees at the Manokan Country.
“The contracts of lease have been formalized with these tenants. We start fresh with them; they have security and will not be bullied because of their existing valid contracts with the city,” Benitez said, adding that these tenants, in turn, should pay their obligations promptly.
He said they are also finalizing the market rehabilitation plan. “Dekada na ang aton mga merkado, patahuman ta naman. May ara na kita initial design that will make our markets not just centers of commerce but also food tourism hubs.”
He said part of the plan is to establish jeepney terminals at the second floor of the market.
Benitez, the 43rd mayor of Bacolod, said he already laid down plans to “transform Bacolod into a super city – a global city with a diversified economy, a skilled human resource, and a model of innovation and good governance.”
The past three months have been a vortex of action for us in Bacolod to deliver our promise of change. “Madamo na kita nasuguran pero damo pa guid kita ubrahon. We are just getting started. I want to translate our aspirations and dreams into actual, concrete, and realistic projects — something tangible, something visible, something na mabatyagan.”/CGC