Oldest mining firm moves to health services
Welcome to Benguet’s Med Central in PampangaBy Tonette Orejas
Inquirer Central Luzon
CITY OF SAN FERNANDO—Eat, drink coffee, play with kids, shop for clothes, try the latest gadgets, visit a book store, scout for gift items, find a dress, do the grocery, check out new carpentry tools, get a haircut or nail care.
These are healthy shopping mall activities. But add these ingredients to that mix: See a doctor or take medical tests.
The Benguet Corp. Laboratories Inc. (BLI) has meshed these time-saving conveniences through Med Central, a one-stop medical facility, which opened recently at the second floor of the SM City Pampanga.
“I just approved P10 million for equipment here,” says Benjamin Philip Romualdez, Benguet Corp. president and chief executive officer.
BLI is a 100-percent subsidiary of Benguet Corp., the oldest mining company in the country, which has since diversified into health services. Its Acupan mine operates in Itogon, Benguet, which is an hour’s ride from Baguio City.
“We have complete services, except for critical care,” Romualdez says.
Med Central has 16 doctors supported by health workers for services in clinical laboratory, drug testing, radiology/computerized X-ray, mobile X-ray, ultrasonography, 2-D Echo, stress test, CT scan, audiometry, electrocardiogram, physical therapy, pulmonary function test, neuropsychiatric exam, and medical/specialty clinics.
It will handle medical services outsourcing and serve as medical mission organizer and as home service for blood extraction, ECG and consultation. It will also handle in-plant pre-employment or annual medical examination for corporate clients.
Med Central is an offshoot of two facilities set up at the summer capital which have served residents since 2004 at the SM City Baguio and the Baguio Center Mall.
“The idea started with health services in communities. It made sense to put clinics in malls as service to [the company’s] employees. Later, we handled Baguio-based companies especially those in electronics,” Romualdez says.
He says that the “mall culture in the Philippines has expanded,” to explain why BLI has moved its operations to the malls.
Pampanga was picked as home for Med Central not just for being at the heart of Central Luzon. Romualdez’s mother, Juliette Gomez, hails from Mabalacat.
Addressing the Med Central staff, Juliette, widow of Leyte Gov. Benjamin Romualdez, says, “You’ve done a very impressive work [for this opening]. I’m a Kapampangan and I hope you give the best of services to your clients.”
Romualdez’ brother, Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, accompanied their mother at the event.
Med Central’s HMO (Health Maintenance Organization) affiliates are I-Care, Caritas, Carewell, Cocolife, MedAsia, Medicard, Phil Care, Blue Cross, IMS Wealth, Asianlife Care, East West Health Care, Generali Pilipinas, Getwell Health Care, Prudentialife Health Care, Intellicare, Insular Life, Mancare, Maxicare, FortuneCare, Medilink, HMI and Valuecare.