City councilor and mayoral aspirant Peter “Jimbo” Maristela.

City councilor and mayoral aspirant Peter “Jimbo” Maristela vowed that he will build a public hospital in Puerto Princesa if he wins the May 2022 elections.

The hospital will reportedly cater to poor patients and will feature basic services.

Maristela said in a phone interview on Wednesday that due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, the need for a new hospital is more urgent than ever. He will also coordinate closely with health professionals to identify what kind of services should be offered.

“Isa rin sa mga priority ay ang pagpapatayo ng city general hospital, lalong lalo na nitong pandemic. At the same time, [para]mga mahihirap nating mga kababayan [na] hindi kayang magbayad sa private hospital,” he said.

Maristela previously lobbied for the creation of a public hospital through a resolution, citing the need to decongest the Ospital ng Palawan (ONP). The ONP is currently the only public hospital in Puerto Princesa, and also caters to patients from the municipalities. The resolution reported that the 150-bed capacity (the number of beds during that year) of the ONP sometimes reaches 320 occupied beds, while some have to seek pricier treatment at private hospitals.

“Patients in some hospitals within the city are designated to rest in hallways due to [an] insufficient number of beds, and this may cause transferring of communicable and transmittable disease to other patients. In extreme cases, these hospitals implement triage and have no recourse but to refuse admission of other patients due to lack of facilities and manpower,” the resolution read.

Maristela added that the budget will also not be a problem, because the city government will reportedly have an estimated P5.3-billion budget in 2022, which the City Council approved on its second reading during their weekly regular session held on Wednesday.

“Naging usapan din kung kaya ba [ng budget]. Talagang kayang-kaya ng city, kasi this year, ang pondo ng city umabot pa sa P3.7-billion. Next year, ang inaprubahan kanina sa second reading namin is more than P5.3-billion pesos. So, kayang-kaya talaga ng city na maglagay at mag-maintain ng isang modernong hospital,” he said.