The City Council on Monday urged the Department of Health (DOH) to turn over to the city government the completion of several rural health units, citing the current dilapidated state of some clinics due to construction delays.

The City Council, through a resolution, also appealed for funding from the DOH so all unfinished buildings could be completed soon.

Councilor Nesario Awat, who called for an inquiry on the matter, pointed to an unfinished health unit in Sitio Sabang, Barangay Cabayugan which was already in a dilapidated state. He showed photos of its broken bathroom sink and its ceilings with missing plywood.

City Health Officer Dr. Ric Panganiban explained that the building is still in its initial construction phase and that local youths have been hanging out there and damaging the property.

“Ganoon talaga ang estado ng clinic na ‘yan. Pinapasukan kasi ‘yan ng mga kabataan. Kung nakita ninyo ang basag na lababo, diyan kasi sila pumapasok para makaakyat sa bintana. Na-request ko na rin ‘yan sa barangay kung mababantayan nila. Kaya lang kapag hindi talaga nababantayan, napapasok talaga. Na-request na rin namin sa DOH na matapos na ‘yan,” Panganiban said.

He added that the units were part of the DOH’s Health Facilities Enhancement Program (HFEP) which began during former Philippine president Benigno Aquino III’s administration. For Puerto Princesa, rural health units, or satellite clinics, were to be built in rural barangays such as Napsan, Inagawan, and Mangingisda. Panganiban added that the Napsan facility is currently finishing construction.

Meanwhile, City Budget Officer Regina Cantillo suggested that the completion and management of the health units be turned over to the city government during their question hour. City councilors welcomed the suggestion, citing the importance of access to healthcare, especially during the ongoing pandemic.

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is a senior reporter for Palawan News who covers politics, education, environment, tourism, and human interest stories. She loves watching Netflix, reading literary fiction, and listens to serial fiction podcasts. Her favorite color is blue.