Recently, the highly controversy-prone Eastern Bicol Medical Center (EBMC) caught the limelight once again due to its managementโ€™s decision to convert some Covid-19-intended quarantine facilities to pay-ward status.

           Firebrand legislator Alan del Valle (PCL-West District) denounced said pay-ward conversion in a privileged speech he delivered last June 29 at the regular session of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan.

           In an exclusive interview with by BPTV online News Live (News and Views) the other week, with SM and anchorman Ferdinand M. Brizo, PBM Alan del Vale (PCL-West District) raised his negative reaction vis-ร -vis said conversion and vowed to have this unexpected development  investigated by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan.

         During the Committee hearing called for that purpose by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan on July 1, EBMC- Chief of Hospital, Dr. Vietrez D. Abella strongly defended the management decision regarding said conversion categorically seriously saying they have yet to receive that much-needed financial assistance from concerned agency to comply with DOH standard.  

         Dr. Abella revealed that the EBMC had spent  P 100,000 out of their funds for the installation of said covid-19 intended quarantine facilities. She also added that the 3.6 fund from the Bayanihan fund is still on procurement stage, including the medicines and medical facilities for quite a long time and the 1.6 M infrastructure improvement fund .

          The hospital chief also clarified that only three out of four covid-19 rooms  were included in the pay-ward in the absence of admitted patients. This can be converted back for use in the event of positive patients Dr. Abella added.

          PBM del Valleโ€™s subsequent withdrawal of his criticism over such pay-ward conversion is anchored  on the absence of funds for the construction and maintenance of said facilities which is the responsibility of the provincial government. And to think that the they have approved the P150 M non-covid-19 pandemic-related loan availment at this point in time when health safety or security is imperative.

          With the committee hearing showed how cash-strapped the EBMC is , as an economic enterprise, letโ€™s hope and pray that both the executive and legislative bodies, will take a second serious look on their unanimously approved resolution of P150 M initial loan from Landbank, Virac Branch.

          May they be endowed with that Solomonic wisdomโ€”between covid-19 health priority or heavy equipment and machineries loan—at this hard and trying times. No more, no less.