THE House Committee on Ways and Means has amended and approved the proposed law filed by former President Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo seeking to provide the Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) with a juridical or corporate personality.
The still unnumbered substitute bill for House Bill (HB) No. 1240 which intends to establish the VMMC as a prime state hospital and to preserve its viability and existence was endorsed for plenary approval.
In her explanatory note, Arroyo acknowledged that the VMMC has played a key role in history, like no other hospital in the country.
“The VMMC is one of the landmark institutions dedicated to honor the bravery and nationalism of Filipino soldiers. It is one of the historical institutions that remind us of the patriotism of our soldiers, [who are] ready to fight and defend our sovereignty,” said Arroyo.
The Speaker also mentioned the hospital’s service for several notable political leaders, including former Presidents Sergio Osmeña and Carlos P. Garcia.
The late Sen. Benigno Aquino Jr. was also admitted and confined at the VMMC when he initiated a hunger strike during the Martial Law regime.
She also cited the outstanding services provided by the VMMC and said, “The Veterans Hospital has emerged as one of the leading state hospitals in the Philippines, equipped with excellent facilities and competent staffing.”
The measure provides that the VMMC shall be treated in a manner consistent with its institutional mission to serve the veterans and shall be autonomous in the exercise of its jurisdiction to be able to execute more flexible operations.
The VMMC’s objectives include undertaking scientific research for public dissemination on the various aspects of health disorders and abnormalities, promoting trainings for hospital employees on practical and scientific conduct, implementation and delivery of health services, and extending medical outreach programs to the general public.
To be able to accomplish their objectives and fulfill their mandate, the VMMC, acting through its Board of Trustees, shall be authorized to take on the following powers: (1) acquire and hold properties, (2) enter into contracts, (3) open accounts in banks and other financial institutions, (4) enter into agreements and arrangements with other hospitals or institutions, and (5) establish VMMC branches in other cities or provinces in the Philippines, among others.
The Board of Trustees shall be in-charge of governing and overseeing the medical institution.
The VMMC may also request assistance from any department, bureau, office, agency, or instrumentality of the government, including the Government-owned and Controlled Corporations, if the hospital finds the need to do so.
Arroyo called for the immediate passage of the bill for the welfare of not only the Filipino veterans and military retirees but also their dependents.
“Recognizing the invaluable sacrifices and services of our veterans and military retirees, it is only imperative that a medical facility dedicated to serve their and their dependents’ medical needs must be stable, viable, and provided with ample resources to ensure that they receive quality medical and health services,” she stated.