Mayor orders help for ‘watchers of patients’ not allowed at VSMMC

Mayor Edgardo Labella on Friday ordered immediate assistance for watchers of patients at the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) who were disallowed to stay inside the hospital.


The hospital order to bar watchers from staying inside the VSMMC complex came after the decision of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) to dedicate the regional hospital as a coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) referral center.


Labella met with hospital director Dr. Gerardo Aquino Jr., Councilor Dave Tumulak, and city administrator Floro Casas to decide on the assistance the city government and the medical center administration could extend to the watchers.


The city government allowed the watchers to temporarily stay at the Fuente Osmeña Rotunda after they were seen camping outside the VSMMC building.


The city will assist watchers even if many of them are not from the city and some are from different localities in the province, Labella said in a statement.


“The Department of Public Services (DPS) and Harold Alcontin and the Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office are instructed to install tents, portable toilets, lights, and water at the Fuente Osmeña Rotunda,” the statement read.


The Department of Social Welfare and Services of the city government has been instructed to provide the watchers with food packs.


Labella also ordered the drafting of guidelines for the entry and exit of the watchers staying at the rotunda.


Tumulak said the city would issue identification cards to “valid and authorized” watchers in the area.


Lawyer Rey Cris Panugaling, VSMMC strategic management office head, told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) that last June 9, the hospital administration started to impose the “no watchers, no visitors” policy to prevent them from catching the coronavirus.


Panugaling said they were surprised to find so many watchers waiting and sleeping outside the hospital, the majority of whom are from outside Cebu City.


As of Friday, the city reported 235 watchers staying at the uptown rotunda. (PNA)


Philippines News Agency

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