Toledo City Council finally approves 2018 budget
The Toledo City Council has finally approved the city’s 2018 budget which includes the budget of the Toledo City Hospital.
This came days after Acting Mayor Antonio Yapha Jr. issued a memorandum to downgrade the hospital from a 40bed capacity to a 12-bed capacity only and would have meant laying off 106 Job Order (JO) employees which include nurses, ambulance drivers and medical technologists.
In a mass motion, the city council approved the P1.2 billion 2018 budget, which was met with cheers and applause from those who attended the session.
Yapha meanwhile said he will issue a memorandum today to the hospital administrator to rehire their JO workers.
“Maybe anytime this week, they can resume work,” said Yapha, adding that they are targetting the full restoration of the hospital’s services and operations by next week.
City Planning and Development Coordinator Caroline Labrador said the salaries of the 106 JOs for the months of January and February could reach around P2.3 million.
Meanwhile Yapha said they have coordinated with the Health Department for additional health workers.
“On the other hand, we already talked with the DOH (Department of Health) and the Provincial Health Office (PHO) who will be sending healthworkers to augment the manpower anytime this week. We still welcome them considering that it will take a couple days for us to process the documents of the JOs,” the acting mayor explained.
“I’m grateful to the members of the city council to have finally restored the budget,” he added.
A total of P39 million is allocated for Toledo City Hospital for this year.
“Now that there’s already a budget, we can start purchasing medical equipment and hiring more health workers needed for a Level 1hospital,” said Yapha, a practicing surgeon.
He added that they are aiming for the Toledo City Hospital to be accredited by the DOH as a Level 1 hospital, or a facility that can house an operating room and accommodate 50 beds, before 2019 ends.
DOH Regional Director Jaime Bernadas said he is hopeful the Toledo City Hospital could regain its accreditation as a level one hospital.
“Actually, they are planning to regain the accreditation of the hospital that is why they are expanding their capacity,” he said.
Bernadas said they are already discussing the matter, through the Health Facilities Enhancement Program, although for now, the city hospital has not yet reapplied for upgrading of its accreditation.
James Leo Peyala, 25, a job-order employee working in the legislative department of the Toledo City Government, was all smiles as he went out of the session hall room yesterday.
He had also not been receiving his salary with the budget still not passed.
“My wife just gave birth to our son last January, and that’s when my salary was cut-off,” he added.
The other offices also affected by the non-passage of the budget were the bus terminal, the cityrun slaughterhouse and market and some offices at city hall.
Lawyer Gabriel Trocio, Toledo City Administrator
said the delay in the passing of the budget affected over 60 JOs under his office.
Politics behind the delay?
Yapha and suspended Toledo City Mayor John Henry “Sonny” Osmeña both blamed politics over the delay in the passage of the budget ordinance by the city council.
Yapha and Osmeña exchanged tirades, with Osmeña accusing Yapha of make the hospital a “political hostage”.
Yap ha on the other hand insinuated that Osmeña influenced the decision-making of the City Council.
But Councilor Merly Abad, acting chairperson of the city council’s committee on appropriations and budget, attributed the delay to the restructuring of their committee chairmanships.
“When Acting Mayor Yapha, who was elected as vice mayor, took over the seat of Mayor-Senator Sonny following his suspension last September, all of us in the council also adjusted accordingly,” said Abad.
“I was tasked to be the acting chairperson of the committee on appropriations and budget last January only. It was chaired before by Councilor Leo Dolino,” she said
“I was not pressured on acting upon the budget right away. It’s just-that I need to familiarize myself with the workings of the new committee I’m handling,” she added.
The Toledo City Council finally passed the 2018 budget ordinance amounting to P2.1 billion, which included the P39 million budget for the Toledo City Hospital. Job order hospital employees are going to be rehired.