Press Release
February 20, 2007


Senator Pia S. Cayetano today paid tribute to the late Representative Antonio "Tony" M. Serapio (Valenzuela, 2D), who died in a car accident yesterday morning, citing his recently approved bill upgrading the Valenzuela General Hospital (VGH) into a modern medical facility as among his most important legacies to the people of Valenzuela.

At the same time, the lady senator conveyed her deepest condolences to the family, friends and constituents of the veteran lawmaker, whom she described as "a mild-mannered, yet deeply passionate public servant."

Cayetano said one of Serapio's last legislative acts was pushing for a bill that would greatly improve health services for poor residents of his district and in nearby areas. She cited Serapio's House Bill No. 4190 seeking to convert the VGH, a 100-bed secondary hospital, into a tertiary hospital with a 200-bed capacity to be known as the " Valenzuela Medical Center."

The bill, if enacted, would also pave the way for the installment of intensive care units, a pediatrics department, surgery medicine facilities and an emergency room for trauma cases in the VGH.

She recalled that on December 5 last year, HBN 4190 was unanimously approved without amendments by the senate committee on health and demography, which Cayetano herself chairs. The bill was approved on third and final reading by the Senate on February 5, and is now just awaiting the President's signature.

"I had the honor of working, albeit briefly, with Congressman Serapio in pushing for the approval of this measure which seeks to address the critical shortage of hospital beds and facilities in Valenzuela, which we all know to be one of the most highly-populated cities in the metropolis," she said.

"Upgrading the 100-bed hospital to a 200-bed medical center will benefit not only the city's current population of 548,649 but also the neighboring communities of Malabon, Navotas, Caloocan and Meycauayan, which also seek out the hospital's medical services," she added.

Situated at the heart of the city, the VGH is the only remaining DOH-retained secondary hospital in the country. The nearest public hospital is the Dr. Jose Reyes Memorial Hospital, which is 11-kilometers away from Valenzuela, or at least an hour's ride away in Manila's traffic-congested streets.

Cayetano hoped that the President immediately signs HBN 4190 into law as a way of fulfilling Congressman Serapio's dream of bringing affordable and quality medical services to poor residents of northern Metro Manila.

Quoting reports from the hospital administration, Cayetano said it was actually Serapio who funded the construction of the hospital's existing buildings through his congressional funds while serving as Valenzuela representative from 1987-1998.

This prompted the senator to suggest that the upgraded hospital be named after Serapio as a tribute to his efforts to improve the facility through the decades.

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