Arroyo urges Congress to pass a bill creating a charter for veterans hospital

PAMPANGA Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (2nd District) has filed a bill creating a charter for the Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) with the power to own real and personal properties and creation of a governing body that will direct the accomplishment of its mission as defined and delineated by its charter.

House Bill 6502 to be known as “The Veterans Memorial Medical Center Charter of 2012,” aims to provide the hospital with juridical or corporate personality to preserve its viability and existence.

Arroyo said the VMMC, a tertiary hospital that has served the country for 53 years, does not have its own charter.

“The VMMC is unlike the Philippine Heart Center, Lung Center, Kidney Center, Philippine General Hospital and the Philippine Children’s Medical Center which have their own charters. These medical institutions’ use and services are not free,” Arroyo said.

“Recognizing the invaluable sacrifices and services of veterans and military retirees, the VMMC is primarily committed to serve the Filipino war veterans as defined in Republic Act 6948 entitled an “Act Standardizing and Upgrading the Benefits for Military Veterans and their Dependents,” Arroyo said.

Under the bill, the VMMC shall be treated in a manner consistent with its institutional mission to serve the veterans and shall be autonomous in the exercise of its jurisdiction.

The VMMC Director, acting as the Chief Executive Officer, shall be appointed by the President upon recommendation of the Board and shall serve for a term of six years.

All donations, contributions or endowment, which may be made by entities or persons to the VMMC, shall be exempt from income and gift taxes.

Likewise, the VMMC shall be exempted from the payment of taxes, charges and fees imposed by the government or any political subdivision or instrumentality.

Arroyo said it is the policy of the state to help foster the socio-economic security and general well-being of the country’s veterans and retired military personnel, in recognition of their patriotic services in times of war and peace, for the attainment of national unity, independence, and socioeconomic advancement, and for maintenance of peace and order, in keeping with the goals of the government and the aspirations of the people.

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