MVP to stay, eyes Orthopedic Center

By Mary Ann LL. Reyes, The Philippine Star

Posted at Sep 28 2012 07:49 AM | Updated as of Sep 29 2012 01:03 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Business titan Manuel V. Pangilinan may not pull out his group’s investments from the Philippines, after all.

Pangilinan, who chairs Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC), told The STAR yesterday that their hospital group will participate in the bidding that the government will undertake under the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) program for the modernization and operation of the Philippine Orthopedic Center in Quezon City.

“Assuming terms are okay, yes to Orthopedic,” Pangilinan said in a text message.

After his name was dragged in the ongoing controversy involving back-channel talks of Sen. Antonio Trillanes with China, Pangilinan threatened to go back to Hong kong and possibly pull out his group’s investments in the Philippines.

The Department of Health (DOH) has announced it will bid out the construction of the new Philippine Orthopedic Center next month under the PPP. The modernization program is expected to cost P5.6 billion and was approved by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) last week.

The winning bidder, according to the DOH, will be awarded a 25-year lease contract.

A feasibility study conducted by international consultancy firm Deloitte Touche has shown that the project will be self-sustaining beginning on the fifth year of operations.

Aside from the MPIC hospital group, other parties have also expressed interest in bidding for the project.

The new 700-bed orthopedic center will be built adjacent to the Philippine Heart Center and the Philippine Lung Center on East Ave. in Quezon City. At present, it is located along Banawe St. also in QC. The old facility will be converted into rehabilitation and prosthesis manufacturing centers.

The DOH said 70 percent of the capacity will be for use of Philhealth members and indigents while the rest will be for paying patients.

Aside from the orthopedic hospital, the DOH is also looking at the modernization of 25 other hospitals, including eight cancer centers, department officials said.

MPIC is in talks with a number of Quezon City and Manila-based hospitals for possible acquisition or investments, as the country’s biggest hospital group continues to expand its chain of institutions.

In an interview with The STAR, MPIC hospital group president Augie Palisoc said: “We continue to talk with a number of alternatives.”

Asked when they can clinch a deal, Palisoc emphasized that “it depends on when we can complete a deal with a hospital in Quezon City and/or Manila.”

Aside from bidding for government hospitals, MPIC, through its hospital group, is also eyeing the acquisition or management of several other private hospitals in Metro Manila as well as in other parts of the country.

Pangilinan earlier told The STAR that they want to target their acquisition to 5,000 hospital beds.

He revealed that they are looking at one hospital in Manila. “We are also interested in managing or acquiring the different hospitals owned by the government such as the Philippine Heart Center, Kidney Center, Lung Center, among others, in case government decides to privatize them,” he said.

Pangilinan also said the group is particularly keen on owning or managing a hospital in Cebu. MPIC earlier completed the acquisition of the 219-bed Asian Hospital in Alabang, Muntinlupa.

The group now has six hospitals in its network-Makati Medical Center; Cardinal Santos Medical Center in San Juan; Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Sta. Mesa, Manila, Riverside Medical Center in Bacolod and Davao Doctors Hospital.

The acquisition of the Asian Hospital has brought to 2,109 the number of beds in the MPIC hospital network.