ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews/8 October) – The government-run Zamboanga City Medical Center (ZCMC) has resumed operations Tuesday to serve the public after it was closed for almost a month due to the standoff.
The standoff started September 9 brought about by the infiltration of hundreds of Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) rebels in this city.
The ZCMC was vacated on the first and second day of the standoff as it is located just 150 meters from Lustre Street, Barangay Sta. Catalina where hundreds of MNLF rebels positioned during the standoff.
Dr. Romeo Ong, hospital chief, said they have reopened to serve the public after all of the hospital facilities were cleaned and disinfected after the Crisis Management Council (CMC) had given them clearance to reopen.
The CMC issued the clearance to reopen the hospital after the police and military explosive ordnance demolition (EOD) personnel inspected the entire hospital compound.
Ong said they are ready to receive patients and serve the public, citing all the physicians, nurses and other hospital staff have reported for duty.
The ZCMC, which was recently elevated to a 500-bed capacity hospital, serves not only the residents of this city but also those from the other parts of the region, as well as the Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi areas, which are part of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
However, Ong said the dialysis section of ZCMC remain closed since they have yet to fully disinfect the facility, but expected to be opened by Friday.
He said all the patients who were transferred to the government-run Mindanao Central Sanitarium, to the private hospital and to the satellite emergency hospital, were taken back to the ZCMC.
The gymnasium of the Western Mindanao State University (WMSU) was converted to a satellite emergency hospital after the ZCMC was vacated and closed.
Meanwhile, he disclosed they have asked P4 million from the Department of Health (DOH) to rehabilitate the damages the ZCMC incurred during the standoff.
Damaged were the power house, water tank, perimeter fence and some of the building’s roof, he said.