To be known as The Health Centrum, the project is now under construction in Barangay Banica here at a 30- hectare complex owned by the family of the late Capiz Gov. Atila Balgos.
The Health Centrum proponents, mainly members of the Balgos family, and Land Bank officials led by its Roxas branch manager Gina Gomez, have formally signed a memorandum of agreement for the P75-million loan in simple rites held at the Hall of Governors of the provincial capitol here last Aug. 6.
The Land Bank is committed to finance the project up to Phase IV, it was announced by Vivian Canenero, head of the LBP’s Iloilo Lending Center.
Phasing of the project construction has been modified, according to the project’s prime mover Dr. Abundio Balgos. Phase I consists of ambulatory care plus 19 inpatient beds; Phase II 38 inpatient beds plus initial hotel rooms; Phase III 75 inpatient beds plus completion of hotel; and Phase IV 100 inpatients beds plus managed care retirement facility in hotel.
The project is expected to be fully completed and/or operational either in the latter part of 2014 or in the early part of 2015.
The laying of the time capsule for the project was held in December last year. It was graced by Capiz Gov. Victor Tanco Sr., RTC executive judge Edward Contreras, among others. In his message the Governor endorsed the project “as an effective way of luring more investors for the province and city.”
During the Aug. 6 MOA signing, Capiz provincial administrator Atty. Jose “Joe” Villanueva said that with the Health Centrum, Capiz will now be placed in the league of big cities.
The project, he said, highlights the tri-partite relationship among the University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital, the Health Centrum and the Provincial Government of Capiz.
Dr. Balgos, who is also Associate Dean of the University of the Philippines’ College of Medicine, said that under the Health Centrum project, they intend to establish a 100-bed capacity tertiary hospital with an adjoining hotel (thus the term ‘Hospitel’) in Capiz “to humanize the health care services.” This is also in line with the growing popularity of the medical tourism concept.
In an earlier interview, Balgos said he would relocate his practice to Roxas City when the project starts operations. He sees Roxas City to be a potential major seat of medical advancement in Western Visayas.
He said that the planned integrated hospital , hotel and mall complex will serve clients from Roxas City and Capiz province, and the northern part of Panay Island in the Western Visayas region, including the surrounding provinces of Iloilo, Aklan, Antique and Masbate, Boracay Island in Aklan, as well as the northern part of Palawan.
Because of the project’s proximity to island resorts and diving spots, Balgos said, the facility will also have a decompression chamber.
An 11-hectare residential subdivision which is targeted to be mainly a retirement village is also planned.
Balgos expressed optimism that medical tourism will enhance the viability of the project once the institution is able to establish a good reputation built on competent medical specialists, excellent nursing care, and state-of-the –art equipment. The project will also cater to alternative medicine. (Gerry Pagharion)