DAVAO OCCIDENTAL, the country’s newest province that was formally instituted in 2016, recently opened a 100-bed hospital that will be developed into a level 3 facility capable of full medical services.   

This is a “dream come true” for the province, said Davao Occidental Rep. Lorna Bautista-Bandigan during last week’s launching ceremony.

Ms. Bandigan authored the bill for the establishment of the hospital. The proposal was signed into law in June 2021 as part of measures to boost the country’s healthcare system.

She said the Davao Occidental General Hospital, which sits on a property donated by the Bautistas, the dominant political clan in the province, now has several equipment for surgical operations and x-ray aside from the patient beds.

It received an initial budget of P100 million and has an additional P219 million allocation this year for another building that will be partly used as a rehabilitation center. The Office of the President provided an P80-million financial assistance for the purchase of medical equipment.

The hospital located in the provincial capital Malita is being positioned as a an alternative and complementary healthcare facility to the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) in Davao City, which is 133.5 kilometers away or about a three-hour drive.

Davao Occidental, which used to be part of Davao del Sur province, was created in 2013. It has a population of just over 317,000. Its residents elected their first set of officials in 2016. — Maya M. Padillo

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