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Osmeña meets with DOH on cancer center project

CEBU, Philippines - Mayor Tomas Osmeña has met with the staff of Department of Health Secretary Francisco Duque in Manila last week to discuss issues surrounding the planned branching out of the MD Anderson Cancer Center at the South Road Properties.

Osmeña said among the major issues discussed was the possibility of bringing foreign doctors to practice in the Philippines but how to go out about the plan is something that he would prefer to keep under wraps for now.

“The discussion came out fairly long and we talked about certain legal issues to be threshed out. I don’t like to discuss my strategy, there are people who don’t like what I’m doing…I might be saying things to their advantage…but I am pushing through with this,” the mayor said.

He said opposition to the project may come from both the national and local scene because of the so-called “crab mentality”.

Osmeña earlier said that having MD Anderson at SRP has the Middle East, Australia and the whole Asia as a market since it is nearer than their hospital in Houston.

The hospital in Texas earns around $1,000 a day for the stay alone, exclusive of the chemotherapy and other treatment fees. He said there was also a day in which the center earned $6.5 million for chemotherapy.

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The mayor said he would prefer to build the center within the 50.6 hectare area of the development project of Filinvest Land, Inc. considering that the patients will have to rent apartments and condominiums.

The city earlier presented a proposal to business mogul Manuel Pangilinan for a possible investment at the cancer center. Pangilinan is the president of SMART and Philippine Long Distance Company, heads Metro Pacific Investment Corporation, and owns leading hospitals such as Makati Medical Center.

Osmeña was treated of his cancer of the urinary bladder at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in the University of Texas in Houston.

After nine months in the United States, he returned home last May after he was declared cancer free. — Ferliza C. Contratista/JMO (THE FREEMAN)

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