SM Foundation turned over rehabilitated Tacloban City Hospital

Tacloban City Hospital now open to serve. (from L-R): Yedda Romualdez, wife of Cong. Martin Romualdez; Councilor Cristina G. Romualdez, wife of Mayor Romualdez; Teresita Sy-Coson, SM Investments Vice Chairperson; Dr. Joedina Gumagay, Chief, Tacloban City Hospital; Debbie Sy, SM Foundation Executive Director; and Connie Angeles, SM Foundation Medical Programs Executive Director

Four months after the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement to rebuild the Tacloban City Hospital, SM Foundation turned over the Tacloban City Hospital to the local government on August 27.

Heavily damaged by 2013’s Typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan), the Tacloban City Hospital has been identified by the Foundation’s as one of its priority projects for its Yolanda Rehabilitation Program.

SM Foundation turned over the newly rebuilt, renovated and refurbished Tacloban City Hospital’s Main Building, the Outpatient Department and the Outbreak/Epidemic Ward. The Foundation also upgraded the hospital’s 50-bed capacity to 100 beds, expanded its Emergency Room and constructed the Malnutrition Ward. Lastly, the Foundation added a new Felicidad T. Sy Wellness Center for the Children and the Elderly and also a prayer room.

During the inauguration, Tacloban City Hospital Chief Joedina Gumagay shared how heavily Yolanda’s destruction affected the residents. “Because of Yolanda, we have fallen on our knees. Despite this, many well-meaning, caring, individuals and organizations here and abroad came to our rescue,” she said.

Gumagay continued, “SM Foundation stood out in helping us — rebuilding, renovating and refurbishing the entire Tacloban City Hospital complex which Taclobanons badly needed. I thank the Sy family for this magnanimous gift.”

According to the 2010 census, Tacloban City has 221,174 inhabitants from its 138 barangays, making it the largest city in Eastern Visayas in terms of population. Before Typhoon Yolanda, the Tacloban City Hospital serves an average of 100 patients per day.

SM Foundation chose to rehabilitate the hospital because of its primal location and the proximity of its reachas well as the urgency of its rehabilitation.

Connie Angeles, the Foundation’s Executive Director for Medical Programs, said, “Due to the heavy damage the hospital sustained during Typhoon Yolanda, the 138 barangays Tacloban City Hospital serves were deprived of necessary health services. Thus the Foundation immediately identified the hospital as its priority Yolanda project.”

“Its completion marks the hospital’s accreditation as a Level 2 medical facility under the Department of Health’s Hospital Capability Levels. With this accreditation, the Tacloban City Hospital can now accommodate surgical procedures of a larger scope and help even more patients,” Angeles added.

The turnover ceremony was attended by Secretary Panfilo M. Lacson Sr., Office of the Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery (OPARR); Danny Antonio, OPARR Undersecretary; Tacloban City Mayor Alfred S. Romualdez; Teresita Sy-Coson, SM Investments Vice Chairperson; Debbie P. Sy, SM Foundation Executive Director; and Connie S. Angeles, SM Foundation Medical Programs Executive Director.

The following day, SM Foundation also turned over the Tabontabon Rural Health Center, the 91st Felicidad T. Sy Wellness Center, to the Tabontabon municipality. The health center serves 16 barangays with over 9,800 residents in Tabontabon.

In the 2013 Typhoon Yolanda disaster, SM Foundation distributed a total of 148,030 kalinga (relief) packs to affected families. The SM Group was also the first company to pledge Php100 Million in assistance for immediate relief and to help in rebuilding areas destroyed by Typhoon Yolanda.

Continuing its rehabilitation efforts this 2014, the Foundation has already identified five other rural health centers which will be built within the year in Yolanda-stricken areas. Twelve medical missions have already been conducted by the Foundation with three more slated to be implemented this year.

Other Yolanda rehabilitation projects of the Foundation include the construction of two 2-storey, 10-classroom school buildings in Hernani, Eastern Samar with eight other school buildings scheduled to be built in Cebu, Leyte, Iloilo, Aklan, Capiz and Cadiz for a total of 56 classrooms; livelihood assistance through its Kabalikat sa Kabuhayan Farmers’ Training Program in 10 locations; and, under its SM Cares division, the construction of 1,000 disaster-resilient houses in Visayas for those whose homes were destroyed by Typhoon Yolanda.