Unveiling of the BRTTH-Ako Bicol Halfway House Marker


After several postponements, the long-awaited Unveiling of the Marker of BRTTH-Ako Bicol Halfway House finally took place on December 19, 2021.  Present during the event were Albay Governor Al Francis C. Bichara, Ako-Bicol Representatives Congressman Elizaldy S. Co and Congressman Alfredo A. Garbin Jr. with Atty. Raul Angelo D. Bongalon and Albay Governor Al Francis C. Bichara. Before the unveiling, the BRTTH Executive Committee (ExeCom) headed by Medical Center Chief Dr. Eric Raymond N. Raborar briefed the guests on the status of on-going constructions, site development plans, and the water system in the hospital.

During the unveiling programme, when BRTTH Chief Administrative Officer Mr. Peter B. Almonte delivered an introduction on the Halfway House, he underlined the fact that the building lies halfway in the journey of the homes of not just patients from distant areas, but hospital personnel as well.  The highlight of the event, which was the formal unveiling of the marker, was performed by Cong. Co, Cong. Garbin, Atty. Bongalon, Gov. Bichara and Dr. Raborar.  Looking on together with the BRTTH employees and other guests were Dr. Jose Amie B. Bataga and Dr. Swiss C. Narvaez, Heads of the Emergency Department and Health Emergency Medical Staff respectively, who had led the logistics and coordination for the activity to ensure it would be a success despite threat of bad weather. 

In a special message, Cong. Co expressed his wish for the halfway house to be equipped with good facilities that will help enhance the lives of the people it will serve, promising to see the project through and not wait for another pandemic to complete it.  Cong. Garbin gave his assurance that he will continue to fight for the budget of BRTTH that would serve the interests of Bicolanos, patients, and staff of the hospital.  Atty. Bongalon expressed his commitment in collaborating with various agencies, especially the Department of Health, to allocate funds for completing the medical services of BRTTH.  Gov. Bichara lauded the initiative, energy and resourcefulness of Ako Bicol Partylist and its partners, adding that the provincial hospital is also being expanded to help accommodate the ever-growing population in the region thus allowing BRTTH to focus on specialized medical care.

Dr. Eric Raborar closed the program with a simple message where he thanked everyone, particularly the Ako Bicol Party List congressmen who helped make the Halfway House a reality, admitting that their support and assistance were deeply felt, especially with its current use as temporary lodgings for personnel assigned at various Covid areas, which is an immense help in defraying the mounting pandemic-related expenses of the hospital.  He further stated that BRTTH may not be like St. Luke’s Hospital in terms of infrastructure but he will remind hospital personnel to treat everyone as if they were working at St. Luke’s, and that in due time this institution may be at par with St. Luke’s.

More than three years ago, BRTTH sought funding for the construction of a dormitory-type building that would serve as a halfway house for indigent patients from remote and far-flung areas of the region who needed temporary lodgings between medical treatments.  Research conducted by a resident physician had revealed that lack of accommodations was a major factor affecting treatment abandonment of pediatric cancer patients, and though the Pediatric Department with support of the administration tried to provide a boarding house for patients undergoing chemotherapy, the project was hard to sustain. 

Thankfully the Ako-Bicol Party List willingly agreed to fund the P70 million project; thus began the finalization of plans for a halfway house and in the end, it was agreed that the 7-storey edifice would also serve as quarters for hospital personnel, especially resident physicians, as the area where the structure would arise was occupied by old houses of residents that would have to be demolished to enable the construction of a more suitable building.   

The completed phase I of the project involved the first three levels, while phase II will include the remaining floors and final touches with the consistent support from the Ako Bicol Partylist and Department of Public Works and Highways.  With the unveiling of the marker, the Halfway House was formally opened, due recognition was given to Ako-Bicol Party List for funding not just the building but other structures all over the hospital as well, and Bicolanos were filled with the hope that things are looking up despite the continued threat of the Covid pandemic and other calamities and disasters affecting the Bicol region and its people.

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Dr. Eric Raymond N. Raborar, MCC II with Ako Bicol Representatives Cong. Elizaldy S. Co and Cong. Alfredo A. Garbin, Atty. Raul Angelo D. Bongalon and Provincial Governor Al Francis C. Bichara at the entrance of BRTH-Ako Bicol Halfway House.