Laoag begins screening of medical workers for upgraded hospital
by Cristina Arzadon
Laoag City (11 November) -- The screening process for the more than 150 medical workers of the P350 million-Laoag City General Hospital has begun.
At least 170 medical personnel from doctor, nurses, medical technologies and other hospital staff will be employed when the 50-bed capacity hospital begins operating in December or early next year. At present, only 17 permanent workers man the present city hospital.
Laoag Mayor Michael Fariņas has fought for the hospital's upgrading due to rising demand of quality and affordable health care. During the planning phase of the hospital's expansion, the provincial government under then Governor Michael Keon blocked the proposal noting that it would pose undue competition on the existing provincial hospital.
City councilor Francis Dacuycuy led a team of evaluators that included city administrator Cipriano Martinez III and executive secretary Raul Omengan.
The upgrading of the city hospital has been in the works since 2002. But political wrangling on the construction of another hospital next to another government run-Roque Ablan Memorial Hospital offering similar services stymied its take off.
Back then, Fariņas was able to seal a deal with the Japan International Cooperation Agency for a grant package to improve the existing hospital. The grant was later diverted to another government hospital when the mayor failed to get the provincial government's endorsement.
Fariņas eventually got the approval of the Department of Health and the hospital's groundbreaking pushed through in 2009.
More hospital staff would later be employed but city officials said they would start off with the initial manpower until the upgraded facility becomes economically viable. (PIA Ilocos Norte) [top]