LAGAWE, Ifugao – Some P34 million was earmarked by the Cordillera office of the Department of Health (DOH-CAR) to retrofit the alleged substandard building of the controversial Ifugao General Hospital (IGH) once the issues and concerns raised against the project shall have been settled.
DOH-CAR regional director Dr. Lakshmi Legaspi said that the P34 million for the retrofitting of the hospital building is part of the P100 million allocated by the agency for the implementation of the second phase of the project for the hospital to eventually operate providing the people of Ifugao accessible basic health services.
“We want to make sure that the people of Ifugao have a safe and secure health facility that is why we want to work on the retrofitting of the existing structures once the pending issues with the Commission on Audit (COA) shall have been resolved by our technical people,” Legaspi stressed.
The DOH-CAR official claimed that it is the provincial government which should act against those responsible for the substandard construction of the first phase of the project by going after erring local officials and the contractor who worked on the first phase of the project considering that funds for the put up of the hospital were downloaded to the local government.
According to her, there is merit to the clamor of the people of Ifugao which is being circulated through the social media that is why it is the obligation of local officials to go after the accountable officials and the local contractor who were responsible for the alleged substandard construction of the hospital building that also significantly affected the implementation of the second phase of the project.
Legaspi explained that the P50 million initially earmarked by the national government for the initial phase of the project was actually downloaded to the provincial government during the time of former Gov. Eugene Balitang and the implementation of the project was awarded to a local contractor while the P100 million allocated for the second phase of the project was eventually coursed through the DOH-CAR regional office which was completed.
She added that the second phase of the project has remaining unused funds amounting to around P43 million before the contract with a Manila-based contractor was terminated due to the alleged negative findings on the work plans that is why there will be substantial funds that could be used for the required retrofitting of the structure to conform with project specifications and standards.
Legaspi asserted the required retrofitting was a product of a study conducted by a structural engineer commissioned by the DOH to conduct a study on the safety of the structure after the termination of the contract, thus, it must be first implemented before the put up of added structures to complete the facility.
She claimed that the implementation of the retrofitting of the structure will be without prejudice to future actions of the provincial government against those responsible for the substandard work.