December 5, 2022

A group of doctors will hold a consultation with residents of Barangay PhilAm Compound to seek their endorsement on the plan to build a six-floor, 100-bed, level 2 hospital in the barangay.

The United Baguio Doctors Hospital and Medical Center (UBDHMC) is seeking for the zoning reclassification of the barangay from residential (R1) to commercial (C2) as a step in obtaining a zoning clearance from the City Planning and Development Office.

Barangay PhilAm previously issued a resolution of non-objection but Punong Barangay Sarah Mina questioned the resolution’s transmittal to the UBDHMC saying the document does not bear her signature.

This prompted the city council and the CPDO to require the applicants to conduct another consultation in the barangay.

Apart from the holding of a barangay consultation, UBDHMC already has permits from other agencies such as a permit to construct from the Department of Health, a pending application for the issuance of an environmental compliance certificate from the Environment Management Bureau, traffic impact study, waste management plan, environmental impact study, architectural plan, and survey plan, among other permits.

Despite compliance with most of the requirements, issuance of a zoning clearance to UBDHMC might not be easy.

CPDO Chief Donna Tabangin said UBDHMC’s request would necessitate for the mayor to constitute the Local Zoning Review Committee to assess whether the entire barangay would need to be re-classifed.

She said it is the first time the CPDO was requested to reclassify an entire community instead of only the area where the building will stand. Previously, requests were only for exemption from the Zoning Ordinance, which only necessitated review by the Local Zoning Board of Adjustments and Appeals.

Tabangin said the request might also entail amendment of the Zoning Ordinance.

“This is a big jump of classification – from residential to commercial. This is the first time that we have been asked to reclassify,” Tabangin said.  

Councilor Betty Lourdes Tabanda suggested for the CPDO to consider exempting only the area where the proposed hospital will be built and later reclassify the area as the CPDO is currently updating the Comprehensive Land Use Plan.

Tabangin said the suggestion may be considered but added the CPDO has to act on the request of UPDHMC, which is to change area’s classification.

But regardless of action being sought from the government, she said the proposed hospital would surely impact on the community.

She agrees that Baguio needs more hospitals but there many factors that have to be considered before the city government accedes to the request.

“Once we approve, it will change the general fabric of the area,” Tabangin said citing the case of Saint Louis University when it built its Maryhurst campus in Bakakeng. She said commercial establishments slowly sprouted in the community when the school was built.

Tabangin said it is also probable that other businesses will rise around the area regardless if it were reclassified or exempted.  

The proposed hospital will be built near the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center. The area where the BGHMC stands is classified an institutional zone. – Rimaliza A. Opiña