BARRING any unforeseen circumstance which may cause its delay, a world-class Philippine National Police Medical Plaza will be fully operational in Camp Panopio in Quezon City within 2-3 years, the Journal Group learned.
According to PNP chief, General Archie Francisco F. Gamboa, the top-of-the-line facility is expected to give the police the much-needed treatment and wellness facility they deserve.
The PNP Medical Plaza is being built amid previous calls for the PNP leadership to ‘just outsource’ the medical needs of the police force by partnering with modern medical hospitals in Metro Manila which could really provide adequate medical assistance to sick police personnel especially during this time of pandemic.
Since last March, there have been 12 recorded COVID-19-related deaths in the police force. There were also more than 2,400 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the 209,000-strong police force with 1,479 of the patients already declared as ‘recovered.’
There are also nearly 900 Probable Persons Under Investigation and about 2,600 Suspected PUIs in the police force.
The 12th fatality was described as a 49-year- old personnel of the PNP Finance Service who expired around 12:40 a.m. last Tuesday in a private hospital.
The 11th fatality was identified as a 49-year- old male Non-Commissioned Officer from the Northern Police District who expired last July 24. The 10th is a 46-year -old Police Commissioned Officer assigned at the PNP national headquarters who expired in a hospital two Wednesdays ago.
Gen. Gamboa said to address the problem, they are coming up with more quarantine centers and testing hubs soon to cater to members of the force who have contracted the dreaded COVID-19 virus and need to undergo isolation and treatment.
At the same time, the PNP chief ordered the PNP Health Service headed by Brigadier Gen. Herminio S. Tadeo Jr. to implement stricter measures in all PNP-operated quarantine facilities and testing centers to prevent the further spread of the unseen virus.
Helping prevent the spread of the virus by fully enforcing health measures such as wearing of face masks, curfew hours and social distancing is also taking its toll on the national police which since last March have put up Quarantine Control Points in Metro Manila and the rest of the country to check health protocol violators.
At present, the PNP is already operating and managing seven quarantine and testing facilities in the country as part of supportive healthcare system for police front-liners who are involved in the government’s own battle against the pandemic.
PNP Medical Plaza to the rescue
The P1.9 billion PNP Medical Plaza will be a tertiary hospital similar to the Armed Forces Medical Center in V. Luna, Q.C. which has modern equipment needed for diagnosis and surgery. As a tertiary hospital, it will be providing appropriate clinical and nursing services under a highly-specialized critical management.
Once finished, the PNP Medical Plaza which will be complete with a healthcare facility complex will be tasked to provide medical care to PNP uniformed and non-uniformed personnel and their dependents.
Gen. Gamboa said to date, the government has released P300 million for the project.
“Probably by 2022 or 2023, we will have our own V. (Victoriano) Luna Medical Center in the PNP,” the PNP chief said.
As of now, PNP personnel with severe COVID-19 symptoms are being asked to transfer to other government or private hospitals by the PNP Health Service since the PNP General Hospital in Camp Crame is not equipped to care for them.
“Sabi ko nga dito sa national headquarters, wala kaming tertiary na hospital. We can only entertain a degree of symptoms. Even yung symptoms na medyo malala, we have coordination with other hospitals para dadalhin yung pasyente doon. ‘Yung capability ng hospitals namin hindi ganun ka-complicated,” Gen. Gamboa said.
Last year, Congress earmarked P634 million for the construction of the PNP Medical Plaza. “The initial allocation for putting up the medical plaza in Camp Panopio forms part of the PNP’s P184.6-billion budget in the House-approved General Appropriations Act for 2020,” Deputy Speaker and Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel said.
President Duterte approved the construction of the state-of-the-art medical plaza to provide superior hospital-based care and support to the men and women of the PNP, especially those wounded or injured in the line of duty.
The medical plaza is projected to be completed by 2021 at an estimated cost of P1.8 billion, previous reports said.
“The President deserves credit for finally realizing this project, which is long overdue,” Pimentel said.
It turned out that the land for the medical plaza was set aside almost 20 years.
Then President Joseph Estrada in 2000 issued Proclamation No. 345, which reserved and declared available for development some 5,000 square meters of land in Camp Panopio as the site for the PNP Medical Plaza, “which shall cater to the medical needs of PNP personnel to improve their health and welfare.”
Camp Panopio is at the corner of Epifanio de los Santos Ave. and P. Tuazon Blvd. in Barangay Kaunlaran, Cubao, Quezon City.
In June 2019, former PNP chief, Gen. Oscar D. Albayalde led the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of a P500-million, four-story medical center at the National Capital Region Police Office headquarters in Camp Bagong Diwa in Bicutan in Taguig City.
He said then that the hospital will cater not only to patients but also police applicants in need of neuro-psychiatric, dental and other medical requirements. It will also have a unit for breast cancer patients.
Albayalde said the construction of the hospital started in July last year and is expected to be completed by 2021 from funds being provided by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation.
Described as a 4-story building, the former PNP chief said the hospital will serve the policemen in Metro Manila and will have a breast center, neuro-psychiatric, medical, dental and administrative center for police officers and police applicants in our country,” the PNP chief said.
PAGCOR chairman Andrea D. Domingo said the P500-million construction cost of the hospital will be shouldered by Resorts World Manila through its cultural foundation while the agency will provide P50 to P100 million for the equipment of the facility.