CLARK FREEPORT, Philippines?The Medical City (TMC) is establishing a 120-bed tertiary hospital complex at the Global Gateway Logistics City beside the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport here expected to be fully operational by 2013.
?It will be the best of ourselves,? said Dr. Alfredo Bengzon, president of the TMC, as he spoke in a program graced by President Benigno Aquino III. The President led Tuesday?s groundbreaking ceremony for the TMC Clark project.
Bengzon said the facility adds to the two hospitals and 18 outpatient clinics that TMC runs in Metro Manila and other provinces. The Joint Commission International, the world?s most prestigious accrediting body for health care organizations, has accredited TMC in 2006 and 2009.
The Global Gateway Logistics City, financed by the KGL Investment Co. of Kuwait and developed by the Peregrine Development International, is constructing the hospital based on the specifications of TMC. The latter will lease, equip and operate the hospital. KGL has a 50-year lease contract with the state-owned Clark International Airport Authority for 177 hectares.
Bengzon, a Ramon Magsagsay awardee for government service in 1991, said that when he served as health secretary, he was told by the then President Corazon Aquino, mother of Mr. Aquino, that a hospital for Filipinos should rise in Clark as the then Aquino administration prepared the base conversion process.
Dennis Wright, president of Peregrine, said the Philippines has become ?one of the darlings of the international business community.?
Sheikh Ahmad Daoud Salman Al Sabah, a representative of Kuwait's ruling family, said the TMC was a ?type of investment we like.?
Mr. Aquino said he expected TMC Clark to give Clark, Pampanga and Central Luzon access to quality health care.
?Access to adequate health care [is one of our solutions] in reducing poverty,? Mr. Aquino said, noting that 162 out of 100,000 women die from child birth because they do not have access to pre-natal care or could not afford this.
He reiterated his administration?s priority to help the country?s poorest 4.6 million households by expanding health insurance coverage under the Philippine Health Insurance Corp., making them recipients of the conditional cash transfer, and increasing education budget by 16 percent to P271 billion.
?These are our concrete steps to fulfill our pledge to reduce poverty,? he said.
Also in his speech, Mr. Aquino said he expected more investments to come into Clark to make it as an engine for economic growth as envisioned in the base conversion agenda.