There was a time when the populace of this island relatively look with pride the Eastern Bicol Medical Center (EBMC) as a bedrock—a center—of health and wellness.

                Apparently, however, in the last two decades or so, its services has deteriorated into a situation where persons affected, experienced  very poor services would leave its health premises with expletives and bad memories that even a peace-loving hospitalized Catandunganons would do “PIMs” ala-Duterte.

              There’s no doubt about it. This good sounding name—EBMC—the creation of the Alberto leadership is indeed once pleasing to the ear and other senses. It is supposed to be the pioneering, pacesetting center institution of health and wellness in this part of the Bicol Region.

              Neutral observers and affected families averred this sad predicament hounding the EBMC for a long period of time can be attributed to lethargic, myopic and negligent political leadership in the higher echelon of power from the congressman, especially, and down the hierarchy.

              This long winding spiral to fatal, low regard for precious human lives due to poor services rendered to poor patients especially speaks volumes of the kind of health institution we have had in this province dubbed the “Happy Island.”

               Mang Pandoy,  that “happy island mantra” is indeed a mere tourism campaign, a figment of the imagination of think tank in the previous administration everyone of us knew with conviction and seriousness.  How can the populace be happy when in their midst of poverty and want, a supposed to be government hospital converted as an “economic enterprise” has failed the expectations of the lowly, the unschooled, the unwashed, the average and even the low middle class families.

                Hence, the monicker “Monalisa Hospital” with the portion of the Frank Sinatra song reverberating in our senses with contempt, disdain, and gusto: “And they lie there, and they die there.” Recently, a reliable source said, correct us if we got the wrong stats, almost every day a patient dies in the EBMC.

                No wonder, although a heavy burden on the family— given the chance—, a patient or his/her

Immediate family would never dare their sick loved ones to be confined in that God-damned health center-cum-economic enterprise. They have the alternatives—the Mary Immaculate Hospital Inc., the Catanduanes Doctors Hospital Inc., hospital in the mainland Bicol or when necessary, St. Lukes, PGH in Megapolis (Metro) Manila.

                In other words, like basketball and politics, “EBMC does not build character, it reveals it.”Hence, this serious question raised for the authorities to hear and contemplate: “Quo vadis, EBMC?”

                However, all is not dim, lost, and negative. The failed conversion of the EBMC as an economic enterprise due to financial and/or leadership-managerial shortcomings did not escaped the radar-screened concern of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan.

                The privileged speech delivered by PBM Santos V. Zafe, Health Committee Chair, delivered more or less two months ago in response to a letter-complaint from a concerned citizen is a welcome development indeed. He indicated his intention to either revert it back to the provincial government or words to that effect.

                Along that line PBM Alan del Valle, Ex-Officio PCL President, manifested his intention to revert it back to the DOH in view of the inability of the provincial government to maintain its operation and maintenance. It will take time, Ex-Officio PCL President, PBM del Valle added because it will need a congressional amendment bill that will surely be sponsored by either or both Cong. Hector S. Sanchez and TGP Party-list Rep. Jose J. Teves, Jr.

                Meantime, let’s hope and pray that death and related complaints due to poor services would be minimized as we wait for the immediate follow-up move once again  by the executive-legislative bodies of our province and  our two distinguished solons with dispatch. That’s the only option we have at this point in time.