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Wag kayong epal! DOH tells Surigao City councilors: CARAGA hospital is state-owned

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BUTUAN CITY – The Department of Health in Caraga Region clarified Wednesday that the Caraga Regional Hospital (CRH) in Surigao City is “a DOH-owned, managed health facility and under the jurisdiction of the national government”.

DOH-13 Director Jose R. Llacuna, Jr. made the clarification following the passage of a resolution by the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Surigao City that calls for limits on who should be allowed admission at the CRH.

In a resolution approved during its 13th Regular Session on Tuesday (April 7), the Surigao City Council stated that only suspected 2019 coronavirus disease patients from Surigao del Norte and Dinagat Islands provinces should be allowed admission at the facility.

Introduced by Councilor Joshua Emilio Geli, the resolution was unanimously approved by all the council members present during the regular session.

But Llacuna made it clear that as a DOH-owned and managed health facility, CRH is mandated to cater to all patients referred, especially the residents of the Caraga Region.

“Regarding the said matter to oblige the Regional Director of DOH Caraga not to refer infected patients under investigation (PUIs) to CRH, the Regional Office shall always adhere to the mandate of the Department of Health as the lead agency in the fight against Covid-19 (2019 coronavirus disease),” Llacuna said.

DOH-13 also clarified that identified levels 1 and 2 hospitals in Caraga Region are designated to take in PUIs experiencing mild or moderate symptoms of Covid-19.

These hospitals include the Butuan Medical Center in Butuan City; the Nasipit District Hospital, administered by the Agusan del Norte Provincial Hospital; the D.O. Plaza Memorial Hospital in Patin-ay, Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur; the district hospitals in Bislig City and in the towns of Madrid and Lianga in Surigao del Sur; and the Surigao del Norte Provincial Hospital.

Meanwhile, the Surigao City Council resolution was met with criticisms from various quarters, even from the city’s own residents.

In a statement Wednesday, Agusan del Norte 1st District Representative Lawrence Fortun characterized the resolution as an overreaction, noting that the local body does not have a hold on the management of CRH.

“The resolution will not hold water, and is, without doubt, not legally binding,” Fortun said.

Fortun also described the resolution as “highly inappropriate and without any binding to the CRH”.

“The hospital, although located in Surigao City, is not under the control or supervision of the Surigao City Government. It is listed as a DOH regional hospital whose operations, including the salaries of its personnel and staff, are funded by the national government,” he added.

On social media, several netizens called the resolution “divisive” and “highly deplorable”.

When reached for comment, Geli–the Surigao City councilor who proposed the resolution–said it was up to DOH and CRH to adopt their call.

“In effect, it (the resolution) is recommendatory in nature,” Geli said. “If the Caraga Regional Hospital will accept PUI patients somewhere else, then we can’t do something on it.” (

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