THE new Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC) will start accepting patients for its outpatient department starting Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2020.
This, as the 10-story CCMC building partially opened its first three floors on Monday, Dec. 28.
Mayor Edgardo Labella led the city officials, including Vice Mayor Michael Rama, in the ribbon-cutting and opening ceremony, which his two predecessors had failed to do in half a decade.
It took three mayors—Rama, Tomas Osmeña and Labella—before Cebu City could see the partial opening of the new CCMC building.
This year is already the fifth year of the construction of the new city hospital building. The construction started in 2015 when Rama was still the mayor.
The old CCMC building on Natalio Bacalso Ave. had to be demolished after sustaining heavy damage during the October 2013 earthquake. The hospital operations transferred to the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) compound.
Rama failed to secure a third consecutive term after he was defeated by Osmeña in the mayoral race in the 2016 elections.
The hospital’s construction was delayed in 2016 after Osmeña ordered a stoppage because of an issue on the building permit.
Labella won against Osmeña in the 2019 mayoral race. Before denying Osmeña a fresh term, Labella had made a campaign promise to make the new hospital building “operational” in his first 100 days in office. But he failed to deliver on this promise.
The current administration had eyed a gradual opening, first with the new hospital building’s first three floors.
After the opening ceremony, Labella held a presser with other city officials. He said the imaging department would be opened next, but he did not set a date.
CCMC Administrator Yvonne Cania said the outpatient department can accommodate around 300 patients every day.
Cania said the partial opening is a great help in decongesting the outpatient department at the temporary CCMC near the BFP office.
Cania, though, was unable to specify the number of patients that the temporary CCMC outpatient department is accommodating daily, adding it varies daily.
She said when the Covid-19 cases in the city started to slow down, a number of patients had returned to visiting the temporary CCMC building for checkups.
The partial opening, said Cania, will ease the human traffic at the temporary CCMC.
The health protocol imposed by the government to mitigate the effects of the pandemic, including the social distancing policy, will be observed.
In the following weeks, Cania said, other departments located in the first three floors of the new CCMC building will be gradually opened—delivery rooms, operating rooms and wards; emergency department and the imaging department, which will carry out the digital x-ray, computerized tomography (CT) scan and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
The first three floors can accommodate an estimated 159 beds.
Labella said the City targets to finish the whole CCMC building in 18 months.
He said P1.3 billion more is needed for the completion of the entire 10 floors of the building.
The current administration had already spent more than P800 million for the construction of the first, second and third phases of the new CCMC.
Labella is hoping the Cebu City Council will support and approve the amount.
Rama, who had pushed for the completion of the whole new CCMC building before opening it, said the opening of the first three floors is only the start and “more will come.”
Labella and Rama are allies in the Barug Party.
Rama, who pushed for the renovation of the hospital in 2013, said the goal is still to complete the whole 10-story CCMC building before their terms end in 2022.
The vice mayor, who also chairs the committee on health, said he will get himself involved more in the developments of the new CCMC building.
Currently, three contractors have been undertaking the construction of the new CCMC building—C.E. Padilla Construction Inc., C.B. Garay Philwide Builders and Charlz Construction.
Days before the opening, around 200 construction workers had been working to finish portions of the first three floors of the new CCMC.
Last Dec. 26, two days before the partial opening, the Cebu City Transportation Office temporarily closed a portion of Panganiban St. and Natalio Bacalso Ave. to give way to the clearing of debris in the vicinity of the CCMC.
Hours before the opening on Dec. 28, heavy traffic had been experienced along Natalio Bacalso Ave. because of the road closure.
Different departments of the City Hall took part in the clearing operation.
City Administrator Floro Casas Jr. said all other departments had been helping in the clearing operations of the CCMC since Dec. 26.
Casas said it was still the contractor who continued the construction works, and some departments in the City Hall only helped in the clearing of debris.