From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 22): GMA files bill to protect, modernize Veterans Memorial Medical Center
Former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo wants to give the Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) its own juridical personality and modernize it to serve the medical needs of Filipino veterans, retired soldiers and their dependents.
Arroyo has filed House Bill No. 1240 which seeks to protect any sale or disposition of VMCC and provide it greater flexibility and autonomy in its operations in order to serve its mission.
"Recognizing the invaluable sacrifices and services of our veterans and military retirees, it is only imperative that a medical facility dedicated to serve their medical needs as well as their dependents must be provided stability, viability and ample resources to ensure that they receive quality medical and health services,” Arroyo said.
VMMC is under the control and supervision of the Department of National Defense (DND), receiving 1 percent of DND’s annual budget.
VMMC does not have its own charter and no other source of income to support the free care and treatment of veterans, retirees and their dependents unlike other government hospitals.
Arroyo's bill proposes to give VMMC a corporate entity which shall be governed by a Board of Trustees chaired by the DND Secretary and vice-chaired by the hospital’s medical director.
Other members will be the Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Defense and Security; Chairperson of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs and Welfare; Secretary of Health; Administrator of the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office; Chairman of the Philippine Veterans Bank; President of the Veterans Federation of the Philippines; and three appointive members who are distinguished veterans in their professions.
While the board may approve the implementation of contracts, mechanisms and financial instruments to give the hospital the flexibility to generate revenues and other resources from land grants and other properties, such arrangements shall sustain and protect the hospital in accordance with law and be exclusive of the medical core zone of the hospital, she noted.
“(Any) mechanism and arrangements shall not conflict with the medical or health services and academic mission of the hospital; and any plan to generate revenues and other sources from land grants and other real properties entrusted to the hospital shall be consistent with the hospital mission and orientation as a vehicle to extend health services to veterans and their dependents,” she said.
The bill also stipulates that the VMCC's core zone “shall not be sold, transferred, ceded, conveyed, assigned and encumbered.”
"The preservation of the value of the assets of the hospital shall be of primordial consideration,” she said.