Expansion of Region 1 medical center to start next year

DAGUPAN CITY — Construction of phase 1 of  the 11-storey building at the Region 1 Medical Center (R1MC) in Dagupan City is set to start next year.
Pangasinan 4th District Rep. Christopher de Venecia said this was the assurance given by Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial when they called on her last week.
Interviewed Friday, the congressman said he was with his mother, former Rep. Gina de Venecia, when he called on Secretary Ubial to discuss health-related concerns in the fourth district of Pangasinan.
Pangasinan’s  fourth district covers Dagupan City, San Fabian, Mangaldan San Jacinto and Manaoag.
One of the concerns they brought up was the need  to fast-track the implementation of the project stipulated  in a bill authored by then Rep. Gina de Venecia in 2012, which already became a law.
Known as Republic Act 10614, it calls for the doubling of the bed capacity of the regional hospital, from 300 to 600.
De Venecia said  the  construction of the 11-storey project to be the main building of R1MC was delayed  because of  a legal battle in 2012 between the winning contractor and then-
Health Secretary Enrique Ona after the bidding of the project in Manila.
“Finally, we brought it to her (Secretary Ubial) attention and true enough, she would provide funds  to start phase one of the 11-storey building for the expansion of bed capacity of R1MC ,” he said.
He added that Secretary Ubial recognized the need to develop medical facilities, similar to the Philippine General Hospital, to be built outside Manila. R1MC, which is ISO-certified,  is accessible and has world-class facilities, said the lawmaker. 
He praised the health secretary  “for being kind to accommodate our requests” as he also noted that funds were also made by DOH for the establishment of a geriatric and cancer centers,  and other allied facilities of R1MC.
He said the main project would be the 11-storey building for R1MC to house more patients.
Due to lack of rooms at R1MC,  some patients are being made to stay in hallways, alleys, parking lot and function area, he noted. 
De Venecia said he also sought the retention of Dr. Roland Joseph Mejia as R1MC director amid reports of reshuffle of directors of DOH-owned hospitals across the country. He said Mejia has done a great job at R1MC.  PNA-northboundasia.com