BAGUIO CITY – In a face-to-face meeting with Ifugao Governor Jerry Dalipog, the Department of Health-Cordillera, the Cordillera Regional Project Monitoring Committee (RPMC), chaired by NEDA-CAR, and structural engineers Joselito Buhangin and Renato Tandoc of Saint Louis University met to discuss updates, project findings, and fast track the construction of the long-delayed Ifugao General Hospital (IGH) in its capital town of Lagawe.

Governor Dalipog took it upon himself to personally meet and discuss with the DOH-CAR, who has taken over the implementation of the project, the delays and progress made by the contractors. With the dwindling budget of the regional line agency in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the added delays in construction due to the nationwide quarantine, and the urgent need of the province of Ifugao to have its own hospital, Governor Dalipog committed up to P50 Million in funding support for the completion of the project.

As of this August, the building is in its third phase of construction which includes outer furnishings such as putting up of windows, doors, and lighting. Structural integrity issues caused previous delays of the project. The incumbent Ifugao Governor is giving priority to addressing these issues. Structural engineers Buhangin and Tandoc studied the existing main building and recommended the reinforcement of its internal frame and the modification of its outside features. Because the project is built on uneven ground and its frame has been proven to be structurally unsound frame, Buhangin and Tandoc recommended to consider for further study a final stabilizing structure will be added to back of the main building closing the original U-shaped building into a more stable rectangular structure. The expertise of the SLU engineers was sought in 2019 to study the IGH main building, particularly, the structural retrofitting done by the previous contractor and to address the buckling of the basement and second-floor support beams.

The RPMC agreed to continue monitoring of the project as it completes its third phase by the end of the year while DOH-CAR and the Provincial Government of Ifugao committed to work together in studying the needed resources and necessary data for the construction of the additions to the structure. Governor Dalipog volunteered to undertake the testing of the soil load-bearing capacity with DOH and consultancy services of Engineers Buhangin and Tandoc in coming up with a design to add a support structure that may close the U-shaped building.

The meeting is part of the on-going project monitoring activities in the Cordillera region by the Regional Project Monitoring Committee. The RPMC involves government agencies, civil society organizations, and local government units in the monitoring and review of procurement in government-implemented projects. It conducts problem-solving sessions for delayed projects and visits well-implemented for learning and future replication.