DOH takes over regional hospital, removes feuding officials
BACOLOD CITY, Philippines — A three-man management team from the Department of Health (DoH) took over the Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital (CLMMRH) in Bacolod City Monday to replace hospital officials linked to alleged irregularities.
The DoH also ordered the hospital’s two top officials — chief of hospital Dr. Domingo Vega and chief of clinics Dr. Benito Bionat — transferred to the department’s regional office in Cebu City.
Bryan Baylon, CLMMRH chief administrative officer, was not ordered transferred as he is currently serving a 90-day suspension, Undersecretary Margarita Galon, who accompanied the management team, said.
The management team arrived following complaints by hospital employees over the non-release of their salaries for two weeks, the failure to remit most of their Government Service Insurance System contributions, and the lack of medicines, Willy Dueño, spokesman of the Alliance of Health Workers, said.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the management team would address the complaints of the employees and the numerous other problems plaguing CLMMRH, the biggest government hospital in the province.
The management team is composed of Dr. Jaime Bernadas, Region 10 assistant regional director, who is acting chief of hospital; Dr. Epifania Simbul of the National Children’s Hospital in Quezon City, who took over Bionat’s post; and Carlito Pilirin of the Davao Regional Hospital in Tagum, the new acting administrator.
Galon said the three would run the CLMMRH hospital for a month-and-a half.
After this period, they will wait for instructions from the DoH head office on what to do next, she said.
Bionat said a notice of transfer given him did not bear his name but directed him to report to Cebu last Tuesday.
He said he was not given due process and would forward the matter to his lawyer for action.
Baylon also said he would take legal action against DoH officials for the way he was treated.
Duque yesterday told dyEZ Aksyon Radyo that the transferred hospital officials were free to express their opinion but they still have to answer the complaints of the hospital employees, who executed affidavits against them.
A DoH investigation team earlier found defects in the hospital’s procurement system and recommended the filing of charges against Vega, Bionat and Baylon.
The investigation was prompted by allegations from Bionat and Baylon about anomalies involving the allegedly excessive purchase of oxygen by the hospital.
The two said they were surprised that after they had blown the whistle on the alleged anomalies, they found themselves among those against whom charges have been recommended.