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Utilize military hospitals for coronavirus pandemic, says Lagman

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By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN

Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman has urged the national government to utilize military hospitals for its ongoing response in the coronavirus pandemic.

Lagman said while government civilian hospitals and private medical facilities are in round-the-clock operations to address the infectious menace, “little is heard of the involvement of the various major military hospitals under the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Veterans Memorial Hospital under the Department of National Defense (DND).”

Lagman stressed that with the expected surge of confirmed cases consequent to the expanded testing, the Department of Health (DOH) “must fully tap” these military hospitals in the campaign against COVID-19 virus.

He noted that major military hospitals have a 2,451 combined bed capacity—AFP Medical Center, also known as the V. Luna Medical Center, with 1,200 bed capacity; Army General Hospital in Fort Bonifacio–200; Air Force General Hospital–100; Navy General Hospital and Cavite Naval Hospital – 185; and Veterans Memorial Medical Center–766.

“The AFP has other hospitals located nationwide with a composite bed capacity of no less than 556 beds,” Lagman added.

According to Lagman, the hospitals are fully funded under the 2020 General Appropriations Act with the Veterans Memorial Medical Center and the V. Luna Medical Center having almost identical total appropriations of P1.8-billion each and should be utilized now considering that private hospitals have reported that their effective capacities “have been reached” and they could no longer admit additional infected patients.

“With the exception of the Veterans Memorial Medical Center and the V. Luna Medical Center with 5 and 1 COVID-19 positive patients, respectively, as of April 2, 2020, the other military hospitals have no record of confinement yet,” said Lagman.

The top 5 hospitals with the biggest admission of confirmed cases are St. Luke’s Global with 91; St. Luke’s Quezon City–81; Makati Medical Center–72; Lung Center–62; and The Medical City-Ortigas–56.

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